It’s the end of July and you’re finally settled in to summer. The hammock is hung, you’ve worn a hole in the pool pass, and your barbecue technique is perfect. Cue sound of record scratching. Now you need to think about fall allergies? Yes – and although summer is actually the perfect time to think about fall allergies, many sufferers haven’t gotten the memo.
Below are some tips for those who want some relief from the allergens they encounter during the fall allergy season. Ragweed can cause many symptoms including sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and fatigue. So first and foremost, those who suffer from ragweed allergy should start preparing well before fall arrives.
Ragweed, the biggest allergy trigger in the fall, usually starts releasing its pollen with cooler nights and warm days in August. It can last into September and October when the first frost hits, which is why it is a major contributor to fall allergies. If you suffer from spring allergies, there’s a good chance you also suffer from fall allergies.
A single ragweed plant can release one million pollen grains in one day. Because wind can carry ragweed up to 100 miles from its source, windy days can heighten the intensity of allergy symptoms. Dr. Ewbank points out that mold also contributes to fall allergy symptoms. “Mold spores are everywhere in the fall, and can outnumber ragweed grains in the air – even when pollen season is at its worst,” she says.
But allergy symptoms don’t have to ruin your fall fun. Here are some tips to keep in mind as summer winds down and fall makes its appearance:
- Take medications before symptoms start and don’t stop them immediately after ragweed is no longer in the air. Wait about two weeks after pollen counts go down to stop.
- Keep car and home windows closed so pollen doesn’t get indoors.
- Leave your shoes at the door, and take a shower, wash your hair and change your clothes after you’ve been working or playing outdoors.
- Monitor pollen and mold counts. Weather reports often include this information.
- See an allergist to find relief.
Allergists are trained to identify your allergies and provide a personal treatment plan. They can also provide immunotherapy – allergy shots – which targets your exact triggers and can greatly reduce the severity of your symptoms. Allergy shots can also prevent the development of asthma in some children with seasonal allergies.