Try these smart tips to help keep your fall allergies from flaring up.
Get tested for what’s ailing you.
One of the most common errors made in the fall is mistaking allergies for a cold, and vice versa, especially when it gets colder. Knowing whether you have allergies (and whether they are seasonal, such as tree, grass, and weed pollen allergies; perennial, such as pet, mold, or dust mite allergies; or both), can help you take the right steps to significantly reduce your allergies in the future.1
An allergist or immunologist can perform a very simple skin test to determine which allergens affect you most.1
If you want a more thorough analysis, a blood test may be necessary. Whether you are diagnosed with seasonal or perennial allergies or both, the change of season can bring challenges.
Fall is ragweed allergy season.
If you are allergic to spring pollen-producing plants, you are also likely to have an allergy to ragweed, a common, stubborn plant.2
It produces 1 billion pollen grains (per average season), which can travel up to 400 miles—so it can be difficult to avoid.3
Along with cooler temperatures and changing leaves, ragweed sufferers can expect sneezing, runny noses, and itchy, watery eyes.3
Clean vents for cleaner air.
Before turning on the heat for the first time for the season, clean the vents to remove mold or other allergens.2
Using a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter may also help remove pollen, mold, and other particles from the indoor air.2
Consider outdoor protection.
On glorious fall days, it’s tempting to get out for a long walk to enjoy the colorful trees. Timing your stroll to avoid peak pollen times between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. can help limit your exposure to ragweed.3
If you’re exercising by raking up leaves, avoid stirring up pollen and mold that can thrive in damp leaf piles,2
and consider wearing a mask while raking to avoid inhaling mold spores.2,4
Shower after spending time outside.3
After the leaves are all bagged or put in the compost pile and it’s time to come back inside, take a shower to wash away allergens in your hair or on your skin.3
Get cozy indoors.
With the cooler temperatures, you and your family may find you spend more time together indoors. This can mean spending more time exposed to year-round allergy triggers, such as dust mites found on upholstery and in bedding. Try vacuuming with a HEPA filter or double-layered bag, and be sure to wash bedding weekly in hot water (130° F) and dry everything in a hot dryer.5
A Trusted Resource
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals, and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic disease.