Are you one of the millions affected by allergies? Do they seem to get worse in the autumn months? If so, itís time to taking control of fall allergies so you can enjoy the season like everyone else.
Common fall allergy symptoms include:
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Runny nose
One of the first things you will want to do is determine what allergens cause the most problems. For many, the biggest allergy trigger is ragweed. Ragweed affects close to those who suffer from fall allergies. While mold is another fall weather allergen, the dreaded dust mites affect millions of sufferers each year. Once you know what causes the symptoms, it is much easier to combat.
To determine which allergen affects you most, a trip to the doctor or an allergist is warranted. They can often discover your allergy triggers by asking questions and getting a medical history for you and your immediate family. In some cases, they may order a skin test which means they will do a scratch test with a small amount of the allergen or inject a small amount of the allergen under the skin. They will be able to tell exactly what affects you because the body will produce antibodies that cause the skin to itch and turn red. A blood test called the radioallergosorbent test (RAST) can detect even small amounts of antibody levels to allergens.
In many cases, doctors will recommend over-the-counter medications. Antihistamines and decongestants will often help those suffering from seasonal allergies. Others, however, will require prescription corticosteroids. Your doctor will be able to determine which course of action will be most effective for you.
You obviously want to try to avoid what triggers your fall allergies. If your allergy is ragweed or pollen, try to stay indoors when you know they will be worst. Most often pollen is at its peak between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Weather reports often list the expected pollen counts for the day so they can help you make plans for the day.
If you must go outdoors when pollen is at its worst, use a face mask which will keep you from inhaling mold or other allergens. You may think you look silly, but it is better to look silly than to be miserable because your allergies are acting up.
Use an air filter in your home or at least in the rooms where you spend the most time. High Efficiency Particulate Arresting (HEPA) filters can be used to remove pollen and mold from the air. They are so effective that they are used by the National Aeronautics and Aerospace Agency (NASA) for their clean room environments. This type of filter catches 99.97% of particles which pass through them which are .3 microns or larger.
Clean the heating ducts and change out the filter in your heater before you turn it on for the first time each season. You want to be sure youíre not spreading any mold or other allergens which may have been trapped in the heating system during the summer months.
No one denies that having allergies can affect your life, how you feel and what you feel you can do during the autumn months. When you take positive steps to control your allergies, you are empowered to make a huge difference in your quality of life.