What fall allergies are there
Well, it’s technically *always* allergy season due to year-round offenders such as dust mites, mold, and pet dander, says Purvi Parikh, MD, an allergist and immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network. But some allergens–pollens, specifically—are seasonal.
Tree pollen, for example, pops up in the spring (generally in tardy March to April), grass pollen arrives in the tardy spring (around May), weed pollen is most prevalent in the summer (July to August), and ragweed pollen takes over from summer to drop (late August to the first frost), says Dr.
And even worse news: Climate change means allergy season begins earlier and lasts longer, adds Corinne Keet, MD, PhD, a professor and allergist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
To get super-specific, has a National Allergy Map that provides an up-to-date allergy forecast in diverse areas around the country and an Allergy Alert app that gives five-day forecasts with in-depth info on specific allergens, helping you decide if you should stay indoors that day.
Certain areas own also seen a particularly large increase in pollen during allergy season.
In , the New York Times reported on the extreme blankets of pollen that hit North Carolina; Georgia and Chicago also faced especially aggressive allergy seasons too. In Alaska, temperatures are rising so quickly (as in numerous other far northern countries), that the pollen count and season duration are seeing unprecedented growth.
Keep pollen exterior, where it belongs.
You can’t avoid pollen when you’re walking around exterior, but you can do your best to make certain it doesn’t hitch a ride home with you.
Wear a cap when outdoors to hold pollen from attaching itself to your hair, and remove cap and shoes when you come inside. (Also, go ahead and be that person who asks every houseguests to remove their shoes.)
Change immediately into indoor clothes, and rinse off before bed so you don’t trail pollen onto your pillow and sheets.
Keeping windows closed and running an air conditioner with a HEPA filter can also assist, suggests Dr. Schussler.
What can I do if my allergy meds aren’t workingor my allergies are getting worse?
If you’re already taking OTC allergy meds (and, you know, keeping your windows closed and washing your face and hair after coming inside), allergy shots, a.k.a. allergen immunotherapy, make your immune system less reactive to allergens (read: pollen), and for some people, they can even induce a cure, says Dr.
“By giving little increasing doses of what you are allergic to, you train the immune system to slowly stop being as allergic,” she says. “This is the best way to address allergies, as it targets the underlying problem and builds your immunity to a specific allergen.”
The downside? Allergy shots are a bit of a time commitment. You’ll need to get them once a week for six to eight months, then once a month for a minimum of two years, says Dr.
Parikh. You need to be a little bit patient, too, because it can take about six months to start feeling better (so if you desire protection by March, you’ll probably own to start in September the year before). But a life without allergies?
Sounds worth it to me.
Cassie ShortsleeveFreelance WriterCassie Shortsleeve is a skilled freelance author and editor with almost a decade of experience reporting on every things health, fitness, and travel.
Kristin CanningKristin Canning is the health editor at Women’s Health, where she assigns, edits and reports stories on emerging health research and technology, women’s health conditions, psychology, mental health, wellness entrepreneurs, and the intersection of health and culture for both print and digital.
Pulling on your coziest sweater and strolling through the park sounds love the perfectly way to spend a brisk autumn day — but when that scenario also involves a runny nose, itchy eyes, and a nagging cough, it’s not fairly as enjoyment.
Though numerous people ponder of spring, with its blossoming trees and flowers, as the worst season for allergies, they can get just as bad or even worse for some people when the weather cools, says Edith Schussler, M.D., a pediatric allergist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York.
The biggest culprit for drop allergies is ragweed — up to 20% of Americans are allergic to the weed that blooms every over the United States.
And it’s a powerful allergen: In fact, just one ragweed plant can produce up to 1 billion grains of pollen during its single-season lifespan. In the past, the high season for ragweed allergies lasted from tardy August through September, but Dr. Schussler points out that that due to changes in weather patterns, the season has gotten longer and more brutal for allergy sufferers.
«We are having these longer, warmer falls, so the pollen sticks around much later in the season, from early August through October,» she explains. «With every that pollen going out, more ragweed is being seeded and growing, so it’s a vicious cycle.» You don’t just discover ragweed in bucolic country settings, either: «There is a lot of ragweed in cities as well, because the carbon dioxide from cars helps it grow,» says Dr.
In addition to ragweed, drop is prime season for indoor and outdoor molds.
The fungus can collect up in piles of moist leaves — the extremely ones that kids love to jump in and adults need to rake up every weekend. But you can still enjoy the most beautiful season of the year without wrapping yourself up in a Hazmat suit or hiding in your basement until the first snowfall. Here’s how:
What does that mean for my allergy meds? When should I start taking them?
There’s no point in waiting until you’re miserable to take allergy meds, especially if you desire to hold up your outdoor workouts.
In fact, allergists recommend you start taking meds a couple weeks before allergy season arrives, or, at the latest, take them the moment you start having symptoms, says Dr. Parikh. Taking them early can stop an immune system freak-out before it happens, lessening the severity of symptoms, he adds.
Check out the National Allergy Map to figure out when to start taking meds depending on where you live.
As for which allergy meds to take, if you’re seriously stuffed, start with steroid nasal sprays such as Flonase or Rhinocort, which reduce inflammation-induced stuffiness, says Dr. Keet. And if you’ve got itching, sneezing, and a runny nose, too, glance for non-sedating antihistamines such as Zyrtec, Xyzal, or Allegra, she adds. Just remember: While OTC allergy meds suppress symptoms, they don’t cure the problem, so they may be less effective if your allergies are worsening, notes Dr. Parikh.
Keep track of pollen counts.
If you know exactly which allergens you react to (a visit to your allergist can narrow it down), you can hold track of when that pollen is at its highest levels, and plan your outdoor activities accordingly.
Download a free app such as ’s Allergy Alert, which will give the forecast for specific pollens in your city.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, pollen counts are highest correct after dawn in rural areas; in urban environments, prime sniffle time is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Since rain and freezing weather slow below the release of pollen, your best bet for an outdoor adventure is generally just after a rainfall.
Avoid drop leaves as much as you can.
The best strategy is to avoid raking leaves or mowing the lawn until the drop allergy season is over.
But if you’re the family member responsible for yard work, take precautions love wearing goggles and a face mask, suggests Dr. Schussler.