While spring seems synonymous with allergies, several irritants arrive in the fall and take their toll on allergy sufferers. But several steps can help curb symptoms.
Ragweed, pigweed, plantain, sheep sorrel, sagebrush, and other weeds produce enormous amounts of the pollen that plagues allergy sufferers. Molds and late-blooming trees can also cause allergies in the fall.
Parts of the country with a wet summer season can experience more weed pollen and mold growth fueled by the moisture.
Allergy symptoms typically begin in early childhood, and often peak between the ages of 20 to 40.
The likelihood that a person will have an allergic reaction depends on a variety of factors, including family history. Many sufferers don't consult with a doctor about managing their allergies, and allergy symptoms are often confused with colds. A sore throat or runny nose without fever is most likely allergies.
Allergic reactions are often mild but some, such as asthma, could be life threatening.
The more common milder symptoms include a runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, wheezing, a sore throat, nasal congestion, and coughing.
Skin irritations and breathing problems can also develop. Over time, even mild symptoms can cause sinus headaches, fatigue, insomnia and problems with concentration and work performance. They can also increase the risk of ear infections and sinusitis.
Steps to curb allergies in the fall:
- To help prevent allergies or make them less severe, it's useful to get a test to determine exactly what you're allergic to and take steps to avoid contact with it as much as possible.
- If you have asthma, taking your daily controller medicine is especially important during allergy season.
- Staying indoors helps. Keep your windows closed, wash your bedding regularly, and wash your hair and shower before going to bed. It's also a good idea generally to keep your house as clean as possible.
- Talk to your provider about the options for treatment. There are a number of drug treatments available both over-the-counter and by prescription, including nasal steroids, antihistamines and decongestants. It's important to start taking the medications before you develop symptoms. If you still don't get relief, ask whether allergy shots might be another approach.
If you suffer from allergies and your cough worsens or secretions from the nose turn colored, call your provider.