Your car might not be covered with a yellow coating during this month, but the fall season still comes with a lot of allergens. Fall allergens tend to be stealthy and hidden, unlike spring’s tree pollen. Even if the triggers are not the same, fall can still be as problematic for people with allergies as summer or spring.
All allergies are caused by your immune system releasing histamine in response to an allergen. While allergens are harmless, the immune system of an allergic person perceives them as dangerous and tries to fight them off. This causes all the unpleasant symptoms associated with allergies. Fall seasonal allergens can include certain types of mold, fungus, weeds, and pollen. However, once you determine your triggers and learn to identify the symptoms, you will be able to manage your fall allergies.
Symptoms of a Fall Allergy
- Itchy, watery, or irritated eyes
- Nasal congestion or runny nose
- Wheezing or coughing
- Skin hives or rashes
- Itchy throat
- In extreme cases, anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergic reaction) or trouble breathing
Keep in mind that fall allergies and common cold or seasonal flu (including Covid-19) have some of the same symptoms. An important factor that distinguishes seasonal allergies from viral infections is that it does not lead to a fever.
What Triggers Fall Allergies?
Ragweed pollen is still predominant in the air during the fall months. People with ragweed allergies suffer from ocular and nasal symptoms, including runny nose, watery, itchy eyes, congestion, and sneezing. Around St. Louis, ragweed plants continue to produce pollen through November, or when the first frost usually occurs. This pollen wreaks havoc from August to December, reaching peak levels in September and October, where a single plant can produce over one billion pollen grains.
Mold becomes a more significant problem in the fall. Nothing appears to be more typically autumn than red, orange leaves falling into piles. However, when this foliage begins to decay, it can cause mold to grow. It produces spores and breathing them in can cause wheezing, heavy breathing, and aggravate asthma if you have a mold allergy.
Indoor Molds and Dust mites
Now, you might be thinking that living indoors would be the best way to prevent fall allergies because of outdoor mold and ragweed. Well, think again, because indoor allergens such as indoor molds and dust mites can trigger symptoms too.
Because mold relies on darkness and moisture to grow, mold colonies thrive outdoors in winter with its shorter days and indoors in damp basements. For homeowners, this is especially true if there are cracks in your roof, siding, foundation, or windows that allow water leaks. From there, the spores may flow into your home through your HVAC system or affect you whenever you’re near a colony. Place a dehumidifier in your basement and clean any furnace filters as your furnace drives airborne spores into the upper floors.
Microscopic organisms like dust mites can also be culprits of your fall allergies. They feed off of air moisture, and dead skin cells. Dust mites can grow in mattresses, pillows, upholstered furniture, and carpeting. Over the humid and warm summer months, populations of dust mites generally expand. So, when we enter fall, they are at their peak. Therefore, people with dust mite allergies will notice increased symptoms from late summer to early fall. Keeping a dehumidifier to ensure the humidity levels are below 50 percent or even running an air conditioner can help reduce symptoms by controlling the dust mite population.
What Could be Making Fall Allergies Worse For You
You are soaking up the outdoors.
As you should! There is no better way to enjoy the fall season than morning hikes and farmers’ markets. However, if you suffer from fall allergies, spending time outdoors can trigger symptoms. That does not mean you have to stay indoors; however, it would help if you reconsider when to go out. From early morning to 10 a.m., pollen counts in the air are highest, so try to postpone your plans until the afternoon.
You are inviting the outside indoors.
Pollen and mold spores can stick to anything and everything. This includes clothing, shoes, skin, and hair. You probably do not even realize it, but there is a big chance that you are letting irritants into your house. It is possible to prevent this by:
- Wearing a mask while raking leaves to avoid breathing in spores
- Throwing your clothes into the laundry and showering right after you are done gardening or biking
- Wiping down or brushing your pets after a walk. Pollen can stick to their fur and hitchhike its way into your home. It can then get onto the bed, couch, or any place else your pet likes to sit.
- Keeping shoes outdoors: Forget mud and dirt—your shoes could be traipsing mold and pollen throughout the place. If you don’t have any place outside where you can keep them, place them in a separate cabinet or closet.
- Shutting the windows: Make sure to close your windows on high pollen count or windy days, especially if your home is near a road. Pollution can also irritate people who have respiratory allergies. If you cannot live without fresh air, you can get window screens with exhaust filters to help manage pollen and dust.
- Pets tend to stay inside most of the winter. And pets can provoke allergies, thanks to a protein in their saliva, urine, dander, and fur that reacts poorly with some immune systems.
See a holistic allergist and be consistent with your treatment.
If you want long-term relief from your allergy symptoms without using medications or allergy shots, see a holistic allergist. They can diagnose and treat your allergies without using shots, pills, pain, or avoidance. Just remember, all physicians cite lack of compliance as a major reason why so many patients have difficulty healing, or in this case, getting rid of their allergies. That means, once your symptoms start to disappear, it is not the time to stop your treatments. Being consistent and completing the treatment plan from your holistic allergist, will ensure you are prepared and ready for next season’s surge in mold and pollen counts.
We hope fall allergies will be more manageable for you this season. Remember, you don’t have to stop going places or enjoying the season just because you have allergies. Just make sure you do everything you can to decrease your chances of getting exposed to allergens. And see a holistic allergist.
If you suffer from allergies, and you have been unsuccessful with allergy treatments or are looking for something different, St. Louis Allergy Relief Center treats allergies holistically without the use of pain or pills. We are an allergy wellness center specializing in natural treatments. We specialize in holistic, natural allergy treatments using Advanced Allergy Therapeutics (AAT). We provide you with a detailed treatment plan after completing a comprehensive assessment to determine environmental stressors that may be triggering allergies or allergy-like symptoms. Visit our website stlouisallergyrelief.com to learn more or call us at 314-384-9304.
We also deliver community workshops as well as a free monthly informational workshop on the first Thursday of every month at 5:45 pm in our Chesterfield clinic. Our free monthly workshop provides the public with information on our unique approach to allergy treatments and includes an opportunity to meet with our patients for a question and answer session. If you are interested in attending one of our free monthly workshops, please call our office at 314-384-9304 to reserve your space. These workshops are currently on hold due to COVID-19 and will resume when it is safe to do so.