The fall: complete guide fall allergies
The fall days are a little colder compared to the summer hot days, this makes the autumn weather the best for most outdoor activities. The change in weather also brings with it a change of seasonal allergies, symptoms like itchy and watery eyes, or a runny nose among others.
While most people assume seasonal allergies are highest in the summer, research has proven the fall season brings a lot of change of weeds and foliage, which release lots of pollen. Pollen remains the number one outdoor allergen in the fall. while the cooler temperatures allow mold to grow outside under the fallen leaves.
To understand fall allergies you must first understand :
- Allergies are caused by allergens.
- Allergens are all substances that trigger allergy symptoms when inhaled, injected, or ingested into the body.
- Most of the fall allergies, we will discuss in this post will be caused by inhalant allergens.
- Inhalant allergens are mainly sub-divided into :
- Perennial allergens – refers to an inhalant allergen that is present throughout the year.
- Seasonal allergens – refer to an inhalant allergen that distinct to certain periods and particular seasons in the year, when they are an allergen is present in huge quantities.
The seasons may vary in length, however, research has shown grass pollinate in the summers months, while in spring the trees pollinate and the weeds will pollinate in the fall.
Causes of fall allergies.
- Pollen – Pollen is one of the most common allergens in the fall, this is because most plants tend to flower during this period. While from some plants pollen triggers fewer reactions, unlike others. It is important to be able to identify the plants to avoid this fall. These plants are:
- Ragweed – ragweed grows from August and its population continues to grow till its winter. Research has proven that a fully grown ragweed plant can produce over a billion grains of pollen in the fall. This is what makes ragweed the most dangerous weed for anyone with pollen allergies. Ragweed is a national wide weed but its mostly found in the east and Midwest states. Ragweed pollen is light hence can be carried by the strong wind for hundreds of miles.
It is therefore important to avoid areas with a high concentration of ragweed growth if you have a pollen allergy, if you have to visit such a place please wear a mask. Keep your windows closed in the fall especially during windy days.
- Curly dock – grows mostly in the fall. Commonly found in the northern hemisphere, most prevalent in California. Though there are over 20 different species of this plant, they are all known to produce high amounts of pollen. It, therefore, a good idea to avoid a place with a high concentration of curly dock plants this summer.
- Goldenrod – the goldenrod is a well-known plant for people who live in rural areas. The goldenrod also blooms during the fall months. Since the goldenrod is pollinated by insects unlike ragweed, the plant, therefore, produces less amount of pollen. However, it is important to avoid areas with lots of goldenrod to avoid inhaling the pollen.
- Other weeds to avoid this fall are :
- Lamb’s quarters.
- Sheep sorrel.
They may not produce as much pollen as ragweed, but it is safe to safe away from them.
- Mold and mildew – indoor: as the temperatures fall in the fall the home’s walls and ceilings become cooler and provide the perfect surface for moisture to condense on. When the ceil or wall absorb this water, it leads to the growth of black mold and mildew. Mold spores and mildew are proven allergies triggers. It is therefore important to control the humidity level in your home this fall to avoid mold growth.
- The following types of molds have been proven to be asthma triggers :
- Outdoor: most people will only assume that mold can only grow in the house, however, in the fall when most plants and trees begin to shed leaves. When the leaves pile together it creates the perfect damp environment for mold growth. hence, it is important to collect all fallen leaves in the yard and the gutters. The pile leaves should also be placed away from the house.
- Dust mites – these are microscopic arthropods that live on the human skin. Dust mites are proved to be triggers for most common allergies. The fall temperatures allow dust mites to reproduce at an accelerated rate. To decrease the number of dust mites it is important to maintain the relative humidity levels below 55% and the indoor temperature below 60◦F.
- Pet dander and fur – pet dander refers to the dead skin shed by pets. Over 40% of people with seasonal allergies also have pet allergies. Avoiding furry pets is the only way to avoid pet allergies if you a pet allergy. Continued exposure to pets will only make the allergies worse. Keep your pets away from furniture and especially your bed.
Common symptoms of fall allergies include:
- Recurrent itch at the back of the throat.
- Upset stomach and diarrhea.
- Constant sneezing.
- Coughing, wheezing, difficulty in breathing and asthma(lungs)
- Recurrent running nose.
- Nasal stuffiness.
- Itchy and watery eyes.
- Itchy, dry skin, hives, and eczema(Skin).
- In extreme cases – one can have a life-threatening allergic reaction “anaphylaxis”.
How do you protect yourself from fall allergens :
Here are some of the measures you can implement to protect yourself from fall allergen, especially if you
know you are allergic to pollen :
- On the windy day especially in the morning hours, you should wear a mask when outside.
- Air seal your home, by keeping your windows and door closed. Turn on the air conditioner to cool the
- Use a dryer to dry your clothes, avoid drying your clothes outside.
- Shower frequently to remove pollen from your skin.
- Research mold and pollen count within your area or the place you will be spending your day. This
information can be easily found on the internet.
- Keep the windows closed in the car. Use the air conditioning for air circulation plus ensure you’re A/C unit is equipped with Hepa Filters to ensure no pollen will be circulated into the car.
How do you treat your fall allergies?
If you have most of the above symptoms, you should not suffer in silence. Most of these
allergies can be easily maintained with the following medications:
- Nasal cromolyn sodium/ nasal steroid sprays to reduce inflammation in the nose.
- Oral antihistamines – they work directly to counter allergic issues. Used to stop sneezing, itching, or sniffling. It can be combined with a decongestant. They include chlortrimeton, Zyrtec, Claritin, and Benadryl.
- Immunotherapy – get allergy shots or tablets to help boost your immunity against allergens.
- Nasal decongestant sprays – used for short-term nasal relief.
- Eye drops – used to treat any eye allergies and relieve the pain and irritation.
Some of the allergy medication can be bought without a doctor’s prescription, but we recommend you have your doctor prescribe all your medication to ensure you get the right medication and you take the correct dosage. For example, all decongestants should only be used for three days after which they make your symptoms worse.
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