Managing your fall allergies and symptoms

September 9, 2013 Marlene Peng, MD

Although it’s hard to avoid everything that triggers fall allergies, there are many things that can be done to limit or treat the side effects so everyone can enjoy the season.

What allergies present in the fall?

Dirt-based molds are the main trigger of fall outdoor allergies. Mold is in decaying that plant material in yards and parks, as well as in pumpkin patches, hay and barns. Because we tend to close up our homes as the weather gets worse, inside allergens may get worse. Indoor mold, dust mites and our pets can trigger symptoms.

How do I know I have fall allergies?

Symptoms are the same as you might experience in the spring. Congestion, sneezing, post-nasal drip and itchy, watery eyes are the most common signs of fall allergies.

How can I limit allergens and reduce allergy symptoms?

  • Take an over-the-counter antihistamine if you know you will be exposed
  • Wear gloves and a mask when working in your yard
  • Wash your hands and face, or shower after exposure
  • Keep pets out of your bedroom
  • Bathe pets regularly
  • Use a HEPA air purifier and a vacuum with a HEPA filter
  • Vacuum and dust frequently
  • Use dust-mite protective covers on pillows and mattresses

Why should I see a doctor?

An allergy specialist can:

  • Determine allergens that cause a reaction
  • Offer information about controlling your environment

  • Prescribe medicine when over-the-counter medicines no longer provider relief.

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