Fall is the time of sweater weather, crunchy leaves and pumpkin everything. But what many people don’t know is that fall is also a time for allergens-a-plenty. It’s a common misconception that because the weather is cooler, allergens dissipate. However the air is still rife with plenty of pollens and molds that may cause allergy sufferers to sniffle and sneeze all throughout the fall season. These allergens though, are often different than the ones that trigger symptoms in the spring or summer. Want to know which allergens are most common throughout the fall? Keep reading to explore what might be triggering your allergy symptoms this fall and how you can combat them. Ragweed Ragweed is the most common contributor to fall allergy symptoms. The plant grows all across the United States, but is most common in the Eastern states and the Midwest. Just one ragweed plant can produce one billion grains of pollen. Ragweed is the most populous during the late summer and fall months. As ragweed plants mature throughout these months, they release pollen seeds into the air, which is what triggers the symptoms of allergy sufferers. Of all the Americans that suffer from pollen allergies, nearly 75 percent suffer from ragweed allergies. Other Weeds Other weeds that grow around the country, such as pigweed, goldenrod and sagebrush can all cause fall allergies. These weeds don’t trigger symptoms at the same level of severity due to the fact that many of them do not pollinate the same way. For example, goldenrod is insect-pollinated and does not affect nearly as many people as ragweed does. Mold Molds, which first appear in the spring, are another very common outdoor allergen in the fall. They typically remain a common allergy trigger until the first frost. Molds often grow in dirt, compost piles and any other place outdoors that remains damp for a long period of time. Mold spores, which float through the air, are what cause people to exhibit allergy symptoms when exposed to mold. Fighting Fall Allergies Because allergy symptoms are often confused with fall colds, many people don’t even realize they are experiencing them. If you have been experiencing cold symptoms anywhere from a week to two weeks you may actually have allergies. The best way to know for sure if you have allergies is to visit an allergist. You can protect yourself from fall allergies by taking the following steps:
- Avoid spending long amounts of time outdoors, especially on windy days. Wind helps more pollen blow through the air than usual.
- Keep your windows and doors shut. The cooler weather may make it tempting to open up the house, but this will only act as an open invitation for allergens to come into your home. If it is still warm, turn on your air conditioning unit. Not only will this cool your house, but will also help filter allergens out of the air.
- Remove all decaying leaves from the areas surrounding your house. Fallen leaves are a common place for mold growth.
- Keep your beds protected. Because your bed is a place you spend quite a bit of time, you want to protect it from harboring any allergens that may have found their way into your home. Mattress encasements and pillow protectors will create a protective shell around your mattress to keep all allergens out.
- Take over-the-counter medications. Because ragweed is so abundant, it isn’t always easy to avoid. By taking over-the-counter allergy medication, you’ll not only be fighting the allergens, but the symptoms you’re feeling as well.
Nobody wants to miss out on fun fall activities because of allergies. Now that you know some of the most common allergens, you will be able to take the proper measures in order to keep yourself and your family allergy free. You can put on your comfy fall sweater and enjoy a pumpkin spice latte without having to sniffle or sneeze!