Fall Allergy Season

It’s that time of the year again. The season of cooler days and nights, red and golden leaves, goldenrod and ragweed. Yep, it’s allergy season.

Pollen allergies in the fall involve the weeds. Plants produce pollens so that they can reproduce. The pollens that are spread by the wind (as opposed to insects or animals in spring) need to be light and buoyant. These are the pollens that cause allergies.

Beautiful Yellow Goldenrod Flowers BloomingRagweed and Goldenrod are the best-known offenders, and they pollinate around the beginning of September. The peak of ragweed season is often around Labor Day. This pollen is tiny and light and can travel up to 200 miles. The usual symptoms of ragweed hay fever involve nasal congestion, sneezing, watery runny nose, eye itching, tearing and redness, throat itchy and post nasal drainage. Asthmatic patients who are allergic to ragweed and goldenrod can also have increased symptoms (a cough, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness). Other weed pollens can cause allergies, including Lambs Quarters, Pigweed and Cocklebur.

Molds are another significant fall allergen. The mold season is somewhat later than the weeds and is usually October and November. Molds grow on the dead vegetation (especially fall leaves) and the wind can carry the spores (the mold equivalent of pollen). These spores cause the same type of allergy symptoms that we see with the pollens. Molds do well with low light and areas of high moisture, conditions that often occur in the fall.

Being indoors more in the fall often triggers allergies and asthma. In the fall, most of us are back to school or work. We are also indoors more and thus exposed to indoor allergens such as pets (especially dogs and cats) and house dust mites. Infections usually increase during this period and are triggers of asthma attacks and sinus and ear infections.

Asthma often worsens in the fall. Typical asthma symptoms include a cough, cheSick Ill Woman In Autumn Park Sneezing In Tissue.st tightness, wheezing and shortness of breath. Patients who have other allergic conditions such as nasal allergies and eczema have a 40% risk of developing asthma. Patients with asthma often have associated allergies. Ragweed, molds, dust mites and molds are often an important cause of asthmatic symptoms. Infections (especially viruses), cold air, irritants such as smoke and climatic changes are other important triggers.

How to Treat Fall Allergies

Treatment of fall allergies (or any allergies) involves three important measures:

  1. Avoidance or elimination
  2. To reduce the elements that are triggering allergic reactions, use allergen encasings on pillows and mattresses; remove and control mold in your home by frequent cleaning and repair of water leaks or dampness; and remove pets or restrict them to certain areas in the house.
  3. There are many over the count remedies available, but we recommend visiting your doctor and discussing your options.



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