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Have your seasonal allergy symptoms lasted longer than normal? If so, you’re not alone. A recent study found that pollen levels are higher and longer lasting than normal, caused in large part by climate change.
That means that your summer allergies could linger into the fall months, as many areas of the country are experiencing higher-than-normal temperatures, leading to higher pollen counts from cone-bearing and flowering plants. The map below from the National Centers for Environmental Information shows average temperatures for September 2022, compared to historic averages.
The fall season also introduces ragweed pollen and mold. These particles can travel easily through the air and cause allergy symptoms outdoors, or attach to clothes and enter through open windows to cause issues inside your home.
Mold can form when untouched piles of leaves or grass collect moisture, like leaves trapped in rain gutters. Ragweed pollen is more common in rural areas where turf grasses and other perennial plants easily become overgrown and release large amounts of pollen in late summer and early fall. Ragweed spores have been found to travel up to 400 miles, and areas east of the Rocky Mountains are especially susceptible to ragweed.
Fall Allergy Solutions
Despite higher allergen levels, you can still enjoy the fall season by taking steps to lower your exposure. Try out these solutions for your home environment.
Keep Windows and Doors Closed
The mild temperatures and lower precipitation levels of fall make it tempting to open up your windows and doors to control indoor temperatures. But that also gives allergens a clear path into your home, causing things like pollen and mold spores to settle on your furniture and floors, and then go airborne. Instead, when allergen counts are high, rely on your heating and cooling systems paired with AprilAire MERV 16 air filters to create a comfortable indoor environment.
Stay Aware of Allergen Counts
Before you head outside to enjoy the classic changing colors and mild temperatures of fall, take a look at allergen levels in your area, which are typically highest between 5:00 and 10:00 a.m. Windy days can make allergens even worse.
Allergen levels can remain high until the first freezing temperatures of the season. So if you need to be outside when levels are high, try wearing a face mask or other breathing filter.
Stay Safe During Outdoor Chores
Mowing the grass, raking the yard, and cleaning out gutters are common fall tasks. They can seem even more laborious for those with fall allergies, as leaves and grass can hold onto allergens that go airborne when disturbed by mowing or raking.
Solutions can include hiring a landscaping service, wearing a breathing filter while you handle the chores, and removing clothes in the garage to avoid bringing allergens indoors.