When people think of allergies, they typically think of springtime and the pollen that comes along with it. However, when the weather starts to change and the leaves start to fall, a whole new set of allergens enters the air and can bring on sneezing, itchy throats, and runny noses. Here is a rundown on common fall allergens and how to treat them.>
Ragweed is a type of weed that grows all over the United States. The plants spring up around August but can cause symptoms well into the fall. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, about 75% of people affected by springtime allergies will also be affected by ragweed pollen.
Mold and Mildew
Mold grows best between early spring and mid-fall when heat and humidity are at their highest. During the fall, mold is most commonly found on damp leaves and compost piles.
The best way to prevent the growth of mold and mildew in the fall is to rake fallen leaves from your yard and remove them from your gutters. Try to keep compost and yard-waste piles away from your house. The ACAAI recommends wearing a mask while doing any of these activities to keep the allergens out of your system. You can also use a dehumidifier inside your home, with the air set between 35-50% humidity.
Dust mites are a common allergen that can cause symptoms all year round. They thrive in the fall season when temperatures start to drop to the 60s and 70s, and they feed off dead human skin that naturally sheds from our bodies.
As pets’ fur coats begin to change for the winter, more pet allergens than usual enter the air you breathe. According to Pet Helpful, the fall shedding can occur from September to November in most dogs. Groom pets regularly to reduce shedding.
Managing Allergies at Home
If your allergies are mild, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce your symptoms.
“Wash bedding in hot water weekly and use a good mattress protector,” said Dr. Marshall Snow, an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist at St. Joseph Health ENT Associates. “Decrease carpeting or rugs as much as possible, or vacuum weekly with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter.
There are also natural remedies available.
“One of the best natural treatments is nasal saline irrigations,” said Dr. Snow. “Clean water with a natural saline buffer will remove the allergens and mucus with allergen buildup that is causing irritation, swelling, and allergy symptoms in the nasal cavity. It is best to do this at least twice a day.”
Schedule an Appointment for Severe Allergies
If allergies are beginning to affect your quality of life, schedule an appointment with a St. Joseph Health ear, nose, and throat specialist. They can work with you to customize treatments for your specific needs.
“We live in an exciting time when we have many safe and effective treatments for allergies,” said Dr. Snow. “There are medications that will help with many allergy symptoms and allergy testing and immunotherapy services for people with severe allergies that do not respond well to medications.”
Healthline | Common Fall Allergens and How to Fight Them
ACAAI | Four Things You Might Not Know About Fall Allergies
LiveHealth Online | 5 Surprising Facts About Mold Allergies versus Seasonal Allergies
Pet Helpful | During Which Months Do Dogs Shed the Most?