Fall Allergies: How to Defend Yourself From Those Pesky Fall Allergies
With every season comes changes.
Changing temperatures, changing humidity, and for some of you (like accountants), some seasons even mark busier work schedules.
But they also mean a change in what can trigger our allergies.
And this means that MILLIONS of you in the United States are affected each year because of it – myself included. As a kid my allergies were so bad that I often had to miss school because of them, and the worst time of year was always the fall.
There were days when I questioned, “how does anybody put up with allergies, year after year?”
Fall allergies seemed like an unsolvable problem, ESPECIALLY because over–the–counter drugs didn’t seem to help. I had to learn a lot about fall allergies in order to combat mine, and I had to really understand the area I live in to figure out what specifically was causing mine.
And you should do the same.
Luckily, we made it easy for you.
Below you will find a complete guide on what fall allergies are and the different options you have to defend yourself from those fall allergies that creep up every year.
Fall Allergies Affect Many People: But What Causes Them?
Like I said, millions of us suffer from seasonal allergies – around 45 million to be exact.
Most of these occur in the spring and fall, because spring and fall allergies are oftentimes caused by similar things, particularly weeds and grasses.
And while it may not be the same weeds and grasses causing the spring and fall allergies, 75% of people who experience spring allergies are also affected by the main trigger of fall allergies. Getting to know the specific things setting–off our fall allergies can be useful knowledge in figuring out ways to avoid those substances.
Here are the three main culprits:
- Ragweed: This is the worst of them all when it comes to triggering fall allergies. Ragweed typically starts growing in the month of August and lasts well into September and October (and, actually, it gets longer every year). Just one single ragweed can release an enormous amount of pollen in the sky – up to one million grains per day – and because of this, ragweed has an incredible influence on seasonal allergies in the fall. Even if you’re not immediately in the presence of any, ragweed can send pollen up to 100 miles away, making it difficult to avoid contact.
- Mold: This means indoor AND outdoor mold – which is where most of our exposure comes from. Mold spores can exist in any decaying vegetation, like leaves or bark. If you have severe fall allergies and must do outdoor chores like mowing the lawn and raking leaves, this means you have something to watch out for.
- Dust Mites: The last main trigger of fall allergies is dust mites. It may not be as significant, but it’s something you should consider before turning on your heat in the fall. Dust mites build–up during the summer months and are released once you put the air on.
Now that you know what the main culprits are for causing your fall allergies, let’s now go over how you can best prevent yourself from being influenced too much by them.
Probably the most obvious answer, yet also the most difficult.
It’s pretty easy to say, “OK I’m not going outside the whole fall.”
But then the fall comes, and you want to go outside with your friends or family and look at the changing leaves, play a little pick–up football game, and not be an indoor hermit for 3 or 4 months out of the year.
It doesn’t have to be quite as drastic but knowing the areas where your symptoms are worse can be helpful. Picking and choosing where you go wisely can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your fall allergies.
I know that when I was a kid, school was always a hotspot for me… and I tried convincing my parents that I had to stay as far away as possible (it didn’t work so well).
Change Your Clothes When You Go Inside
This can be lumped into avoiding exposure, but it takes it one extra step.
I’m not sure if having a “indoor” set of clothes ready for when you get home is taking it too far, but I’m sure this would help fall allergies a lot.
Remember, the two main triggers are 1) ragweed and 2) mold – two mainly outdoor substances. It makes sense that taking an extra precaution such as changing your clothes to avoid spreading the pollen from these outdoor plants into your home would be a helpful thing for fall allergies.
And although I personally don’t have a pair of clothes ready for whenever I come in the door, I DO always change after being outdoors for an extended period of time and I NEVER sit on my bed with clothes I wore outside.
Clean Your Home… OFTEN
Another option that could be lumped together with avoiding exposure, but again, it’s an extra step.
Instead of just avoiding pollen, this would technically be removing it from your home.
And it might have one of the biggest impacts on your fall allergies, because this is where you probably spend the majority of your time outside of work (unless you work from home, which makes this option an even bigger priority for you).
What cleaning you home will do is remove the pollen that manages to get into your house from outside, causing your symptoms to act up even when you’re not outdoors.
But here’s a warning before you clean – WEAR A MASK.
While you’re cleaning you’ll also be releasing pollen and dust mites from their resting places, and you’re face will most likely be close by. Wearing a mask will make sure that you don’t trigger your allergies while you’re attempting to prevent them.
I know I already mentioned that these don’t always work for me, but others are different.
And taking them as early as possible to try and combat fall allergies before they become a major hassle is a great idea.
Antihistamines and other drugs that help prevent stuffy and runny noses caused by fall allergies are available over–the–counter, and you should think about which one would be right for you to take. Check in with your doctor and ask them about it!
When All Else Fails: Allergy Immunotherapy
Some of us simply need more to help our fall allergies than by simply avoiding the substances that cause them or taking over–the–counter medication.
And if this is you, you absolutely should consider getting allergy immunotherapy.
It can come in the form of shots or tablets, and over time it has shown to help a lot of people get over their fall allergies.
Your doctor will inject or give you a dose of whatever causes you allergies to act up until you simply no longer experience an allergic reaction, and it helps in about 85% of cases.
If you choose this route, here’s how the process will play out:
- At first, you will take a shot once or twice a week for several months at smaller doses to get you started and will gradually become bigger.
- Once the first phase passes, you will begin taking larger doses every 2–4 weeks for about 4 months.
- You will then start taking a shot about once a month for 3–5 years, where your symptoms will usually decrease or go away completely.
It may sound like a lot at first, but it’s not like you’re going into the doctor’s office and getting a full check–up. You go in, get a shot, maybe chit–chat with the doctor, and you’re on your way.
Sound’s worth it to eventually get rid of the suffering of fall allergies.
Fall Allergies Don’t Need To Continue
No matter what level your allergy symptoms may be or what is causing them, there are ways out there to combat and defend yourself against seasonal fall allergies.
It just requires a little action on the part of you to prevent them
This means 1) getting to know your symptoms, 2) finding out what causes them, and 3) figuring out what plan you need to take from the above list that will best fit your case.
We wish you luck on this years’ fall allergy season, and hope this guide helps!