Any time fall season is coming up everyone starts getting worried about seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies can mean a decrease in the quality of life if you don’t know how to treat or manage allergies. What seasonal allergies in fall do you have to deal with? How can you prepare? In this article, we are going to talk about what allergies you may expect in fall as well as ways you can prepare and deal with these allergies.
Substances that can trigger allergy symptoms when inhaled by sensitive people are called inhalant allergens. There are perennial and seasonal inhalant allergens. Perennial allergens are around throughout the entire year without much variation, but seasonal allergens affect allergy sufferers at specific times throughout the year.
Allergens of Fall
Ragweed is one of the main problems during fall. One plant can produce one billion pollen grains each season. Ragweed grows in the South, North and Midwest and its lightweight pollen grains can travel up to 400 miles when it is windy.
You are likely to notice ragweed pollen from late summer to mid-fall. This allergen can be found anywhere from vacant lots to along the road. If the area has a colder climate, the first frost is likely to happen around the time ragweed pollination finishes but in the South that may not be the case.
Depending on where you live in the US, other types of weeds may cause you problems. These weeds include a curly dock, goldenrod, pigweed, sheep sorrel and more. Some plants are pollinated by insects as opposed to windborne pollination which makes it better for your allergies but they can still cause problems. If you see the bright goldenrod flower, you know that the ragweed is also blooming.
Outdoor molds are one of the causes of fall allergies. They can last until the first frost and are common in soil, compost piles and in leave piles that might have been raked together and left for a long time. Mold spores form in mid to late fall after ragweed season is over and can be a common airborne allergen. These light, small spores are easily inhaled into the lungs. Spores rise into the atmosphere when the day starts getting warm and fall back to the ground when it cools off in the evening.
Protecting Yourself from Fall Allergies
Depending on which part of your body is exposed, what the allergen is and your specific body, you are going to have different reactions. You may suffer from a runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, wheezing, asthma, upset stomach, dry skin, itchy skin and more. Any of these symptoms can be maddening, but when you put multiple symptoms on top of each other, you are dealing with something that can truly decrease your quality of life.
As it starts to cool down, we often naturally begin to migrate inside for our activities. While this might be helpful for avoiding allergens that are outdoors, we are now going to experience indoor allergens like dust mites and indoor mold. Understanding this can make us feel like we are being bombarded by allergens no matter where we go, but some things can be done to survive and thrive throughout the fall.
1) Check Pollen Levels
If pollen levels are registering high, you don’t want to be outside any more than you have to be outside. Pollen is extremely high in the morning and when it is dry so if you need to be outside whenever pollen count is high, avoid morning – especially when it is dry and windy.
2) Wear Protective Clothing
Sometimes we have no choice but to be outside and if that is your case, the best way to help yourself is by wearing protective clothing. Long sleeves, pants, a hat, and sunglasses are a good start so you can keep pollen off your skin. If you plan on being outside doing any strenuous activity, you should also wear a mask to ensure you inhale as little of the outdoor allergens as possible.
3) Minimize Pollen Exposure
If you want to minimize pollen exposure, one of the best ways to do that is by washing pollen off your skin and out of your hair as soon as you get inside from activities. Change your shoes before you come into the house and get out of your clothes once you get in the door. You can have a robe hanging near the door, so you can walk to your bathroom but make sure you don’t bring clothes or shoes into the house.
4) No Outdoor Clothes Hanging
You might love the smell of clothes that have been drying outdoors, but this is a great way to get pollen all over your clothes. Keep from hanging clothes out to dry even if they are just your swimming clothes. Any exposure to allergens is too much, but when it is in your clothing, it will transfer and rub into your skin.
When you know what to look out for with your fall allergies, it is easier to avoid coming in contact with things that are going to irritate your allergies. Make sure your friends and family know about any allergies you have so they don’t cause situations that expose you to allergens. Protecting yourself from allergen may take little extra work but being able to breathe and function will make it worth every preventative measure.