The way we often discuss seasonal allergies, many people have the impression that they are a singular problem contained within a singular season, usually Spring. However, every season can have its own unique allergy triggers. Understanding this, and what they are, can help us maintain optimal comfort and livelihood throughout the year. Here, we discuss the allergens that are common to the Autumn months of August to November.
During this season in which kids head back to the classroom, we have historically seen an uptick in the common cold. However, what may look like a cold could be Fall allergies. The differences can be so subtle that they are difficult to spot. We can most quickly identify allergies by a significant amount of sneezing but no sore throat. Allergies may also flare up and subside based on exposure to allergens. This time of year has been called “ragweed season” due to the heightened presence of this weed plant. Other pollen allergens include pigweed, sorrel, firebush, and more. Essentially, if a plant produces pollen, it could cause allergy symptoms.
It isn’t just weed plants that we must be aware of during the Fall season. Mold spore counts can also rise dramatically as the leaves fall and some plants die off. Molds can thrive in the compost, leaving their spores to float into the air.
Managing Fall Allergies
If your allergies become severe, the best thing you can do is schedule a consultation with an allergy specialist. St. Louis provides testing to help patients identify their allergy triggers and, when needed, can develop a treatment program to manage symptoms more efficiently. In many cases Fall allergies can be handled without immunotherapy or other formal interventions. Suggestions for keeping allergy symptoms under control include:
- Reduce exposure to pollens like ragweed by keeping the windows closed and remaining indoors, especially during the morning hours when weed plants tend to release pollen.
- Use an air filter or run the central air inside the home, taking care to change filters regularly.
- Do not let fallen leaves accumulate on the ground. They provide a breeding ground for molds. When raking up leaves, wear an N95 mask.
- Control dust mites by washing bedding in hot water once a week. Dry bedding on high heat. Place allergen-proof pillow cases on beds. When dusting, use a wet cloth to prevent dust mites from floating into the air. When vacuuming, use a double-layered microfilter bag.
- Perform nasal irrigation to reduce allergy symptoms when necessary. This should be done only with slightly warmed distilled water with the addition of mild saline ingredients.
- Use medications as needed. Over-the-counter medications include antihistamines, nasal corticosteroids, and decongestants. These should be taken strictly as directed.
If allergy remedies do not provide sufficient relief, it is wise to consider medical allergy treatment. To learn more, contact us at 314.475.3700 and schedule a consultation at our St. Louis or Festus, MO office.