Fall is here and with the change of the seasons comes another season of allergies for those allergic ragweed. Odds are you’re among the 10-30% of Americans who suffer from hay fever. During the fall, dry leaves, grass, and hay harbor allergens such as mold spores and pollen.
Like most seasonal allergies, the symptoms of fall allergies include sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy and watery eyes. In addition to sneezing, sniffling, nasal congestion, and sleep disruption, ragweed allergy can cause red, puffy eyes, itchy throat, and even hives.Severe cases can lead to chronic sinus problems and even asthma attacks. These symptoms can interfere with your daily activities, impairing your ability to perform at work, school and sports.
Ragweed pollen is one of the most common reasons for fall seasonal allergy symptoms with the peak ragweed season starting in August and running through the month of October.
Tips for Managing Fall Allergies
- Use a dehumidifier to decrease humidity in your house. Try to keep the relative humidity in your home at less than 50%.
- Ask someone who is not allergic to clean visible mold with a diluted bleach solution.
- Regularly clean room humidifiers to keep them from developing mold spores.
- Have someone who is not allergic do yard work (raking leaves, mowing the lawn), or wear a face mask and goggles if you must do it yourself.
- Keep the windows shut and the air conditioner running when ragweed pollen levels are high.
- Shower after being outdoors and put your dirty clothes in a plastic bag until it’s time to do the laundry. Also keep your shoes out of your bedroom and closet.
If your seasonal allergy symptoms are interfering with your daily life or causing you bothersome symptoms, visit an allergist who can diagnose your allergy and recommend ways to manage it. Treatment for seasonal allergies may involve medications such as Benadryl, Singulair, steroid nasal sprays and decongestants and allergy shots for the most severe cases.