Fall brings a lot of seasonal changes, no matter how temperate the climate. In fact, most people who cough, sneeze and have runny noses during the autumn assume they have a cold but, in fact, are suffering from seasonal allergies.
One of the most common terms assigned to fall allergies is “hay fever.” Despite the misleading term, hay fever has little to do with hay or a fever. In general, hay fever refers to late-summer or fall allergies that cause sneezing; coughing; itchy eyes, nose and mouth; and increased mucus production.
Plenty of airborne allergens contribute to this hay fever, including common ones in fall:
- Ragweed (allergic rhinitis)
- Outdoor mold
Ragweed is possibly the worst offender because it pollinates in mid August and spreads its tiny seeds easily with each autumn breeze.
On the other hand, pesky leaves and indoor allergens are also a concern, especially if the fall season is particularly humid. Here are tips to prevent seasonal allergies from pulling you under this fall:
1. Stay clean
Shower and wash clothes regularly to avoid collecting pollen and other allergens on your clothes and in your bedroom. You’ll find it difficult to sleep if your bed is full of irritating allergens, so wash your sheets often and keep windows tightly closed.
2. Invest in a HEPA filter
Whether as part of your air conditioner unit or as a separate filter, it’s good to have a certified HEPA filter in your home. It will keep the abundance of outdoor allergens at bay as you take refuge inside. Remember to change filters every few months, particularly when seasonal allergies are a problem.
3. Air out your car
Each time you get into your car and crank up the air conditioner to battle late summer heat, leave your windows down for a few minutes. This allows you to air out your vehicle’s interior and get rid of harmful mold spores that are likely residing in the vents.
4. Be aware of triggers
Look up pollen counts before each outing, and ensure you’ve taken your medications ahead of time. School can trigger allergies to food, chalk dust and classroom pets, so help your child identify their triggers to successfully pre-medicate or avoid triggers altogether.
5. Consult with your allergist
Even though you might be aware of some allergies, seek professional diagnosis and treatment. You can’t control your symptoms until you know exactly what’s going on, so identify and treat them, no matter the season.
When your doctor identifies your allergies, you can get prescription medications to manage symptoms, or consider allergy shots to eliminate certain reactions.
With these tips, you can anticipate and manage allergies, regardless of the time of year.