Fall Allergies: What You Need to Know
Fall allergies don’t get the same headlines as those in spring and summer, but this time of year can be especially bad for those who are allergic to mold and ragweed pollen.
Mild temperatures mixed with rain mean plant and pollen growth. And then when trees lose their leaves, all of that stagnant organic matter can easily produce mold.
Symptoms can include any or all of the following:
● Itchy, puffy, and red eyes
● Runny nose
● Itchy skin
● Trouble breathing
● Asthma attacks
The seasonal elements of fall aren’t the only triggers that can make these allergy symptoms worse. Here are a few lesser known triggers to be aware of this time of year according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology:
1. Hay Fever – Having nothing to do with hay, hay fever (or allergic rhinitis), is actually a general term for late summer allergies. Ragweed is the most common cause and will start to pollinate mid-August, peaking around Labor Day. During this time, the plant will send billions of pollen grains into the air that will travel up to hundreds of miles thanks to the wind. Ragweed often stays around until the first hard freeze of winter, but you can minimize your exposure by doing your exercising and yard work in the morning hours when fall rolls around.
2. Indian Summer – While unseasonably warm temperatures are usually celebrated, allergy sufferers are not members of the welcome committee. That’s because lingering warm weather can actually prolong allergic rhinitis symptoms due to the extra pollen in the air. Allergy sufferers should check the five day allergy forecast for their area, available at pollen.com.
3. Raking Leaves – It was long believed that raking was a necessity in the fall because all those leaves on the ground would kill the grass. But raking can agitate pollen and mold into the air, making allergy and asthma symptoms worse. Thankfully for allergy sufferers and all homeowners, the new recommendation is to STOP RAKING and start mulching–fallen leaves provide good, organic matter to the soil.
4. Back to School Allergens – The start of a new school year can be filled with a lot of anxiety for kids who suffer from allergies and asthma. Dust mites, mold, pet dander, and even chalk dust (if anyone still uses a chalkboard these days), can all be triggers for kids. Even gym class and recess can be huge triggers for kids with exercise induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) allergy symptoms. It’s important to communicate with your child’s teacher and other school staff about your child’s condition and treatment plan so everyone can do their best to keep your their symptoms at bay. Parents can also sign up for regular pollen count emails through the National Allergy Bureau so they can keep on top of their child’s allergy medication.
If you think you or your child are suffering from allergies or asthma, it is important to see a board-certified allergist to be properly diagnosed. An allergist will be able to help treat or even prevent your allergy problems.