The air is getting crisp, and the leaves are changing, which means Autumn is approaching and fall allergy season is about to rear its head. Fall allergens are more hidden than the obvious springtime tree pollen that coats our cars outside. Although fall allergy triggers may be different than those in other seasons, knowing them is essential for managing them and will help make this fun time of year much more enjoyable.
Why Some People Have Allergies
All allergies are produced by your immune system releasing histamine in response to an allergen. While these allergens are not harmful, the immune systems of people with allergies perceive them as threats and tries to expel them. In other words, the symptoms allergic people experience are actually the body’s protective immune response.
Symptoms of Fall Allergies
- Itchy throat
- Itchy, watery, or irritated eyes
- Wheezing or coughing
- Nasal congestion or runny nose
- Skin hives or rashes
- Asthma or trouble breathing
- In extreme cases, anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergic reaction)
Fall Allergen Triggers
There are plenty of fall allergen triggers to keep tabs on. The big four allergies in the fall are ragweed pollen, mold, dust mites, and pet dander. Let’s look at each one individually.
The most prominent and common allergen trigger in the late summer and early fall is the dreaded ragweed pollen. Like all other pollen allergies, ragweed allergies are ignited when the warm temperatures of late summer signal ragweed plants to produce three to four times more pollen than usual. Around 75% of people who are allergic to spring pollen will also be affected by ragweed in the fall. While ragweed begins to pollinate in the late summer, it’s pollination peaks in the prime fall months of September and October continuing in some parts of the country through December.
Outdoor and Indoor Molds
The fall leaves are a beautiful sight to see; however, those pretty fall colors hide one of the big-time allergen culprits—outdoor mold. When the colorful leaves are freshly falling to the ground, they make a picturesque pile. But once those leaves start decaying, it causes mold to grow.
Inside your home, mold can form in any dark and moist area. Check for cracks along your roof, siding, foundation, or windows to ensure that no unwanted water will enter your home. Basements are notorious for trapping mold in even the cleanest of homes. To help avoid this, keep a dehumidifier handy to clear out moisture and airborne mold spores that might have entered.
An estimated 20 million Americans have dust mite allergies and about that same number have less severe dust mite sensitivities. Dust mites, similar to mold, like humid air. However, dust mites are also abundant in your bedding sheets, mattresses, and pillows. Air filters and furnaces are popular spots for dust mites to hide. Every fall season, always replace your old air filter and furnace filter with a brand new one before turning on your furnace. If not, unfortunately, dust mite waste will be thrown into the air the first time you turn on your furnace.
Pet dander itself doesn’t become more allergic in the fall. However, your pet’s fur is another big-time culprit in bringing unwanted allergens into your home. Pollen, dust, and dirt is easily trapped in your pet’s fur & hair whenever they are outside. Be sure to regularly clean your pets off with a towel to ensure these allergens don’t stick around your home.
Tips for Avoiding Fall Allergies
- Install high-efficiency furnace filters in your home. These help to better circulate the air in your home.
- Use HEPA filtered air purifiers especially in your bedrooms.
- Vacuum your house twice weekly with a HEPA filtered vacuum. Regularly cleaning your home will help manage a dust mite problem, though there is no way to completely rid your home of dust mites.
- Wear a mask when working outside. Fall is a prime time for outdoor home activities. Wearing a mask will keep you from breathing in ragweed pollen and mold spores.
- Keep your doors and windows closed during high pollen count days.
- Just before the fall season, use a professional cleaning system to do a deep clean of your carpets and furniture to properly prepare your home for an allergen-controlled fall.
- Before getting into bed, take a quick shower to rinse off the pollen, dust, and dirt allergens from your hair and skin.
- Covering your mattress and pillows with so-called dust mite covers may help to control dust, but the dust mites, mold and pollen spores will still be in your bedding. Washing your sheets weekly will be more beneficial.
See a holistic allergist and be consistent with your treatment
A holistic allergist can help you with long-term relief from your allergy symptoms without using medications or allergy shots. They can diagnose and treat your allergies without using shots, pills, pain, or avoidance. Just remember, all physicians cite lack of compliance as a significant reason why so many patients have difficulty healing, or in this case, getting rid of their allergy symptoms. 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 because you have allergies. Just make sure you do everything you can to decrease your chances of getting triggered by allergens. And see a holistic allergist!
If you suffer from allergies and 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 using Advanced Allergy Therapeutics (AAT). After completing a comprehensive assessment, we provide you with a detailed evaluation and treatment plan to help with the environmental, food, and seasonal 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.