Achoo! Fighting Fall Allergies is Nothing to Sniffle At
Many of us look forward to leaves changing color, cooler temperatures, pumpkins and football games as we transition into fall, but for nearly 20 percent of Americans the fall season canbring itchy eyes, running noses, sneezing and other irritating allergy symptoms.
Sutter Health allergy expert, Ron Brown, M.D., explains while springtime is known to cause misery for most allergy sufferers, the fall season can be just as bad for a select few.
“Here in California there are relatively few fall allergens compared to the Midwest and eastern parts of the country where ragweed is a major allergen,” Dr. Brown said. “However, allergies from mold and local weeds that are still pollinating tend to cause the most outdoor allergy problems.”
Dr. Brown says a majority of fall allergy symptoms include itchy eyes, stuffy/runny nose, sneezing and fatigue, but warns that allergens could also trigger asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Some of these allergy symptoms can be difficult to distinguish from the common cold.
“A cold will come on rather quickly with a sore throat, thick nasal discharge and possible fever. Colds also last about one week,” Dr. Brown says. “While allergy symptoms may have some similarities to those of a cold, allergies tend to last longer, and cause watery nasal discharge and itchiness.”
To help relieve allergy symptoms, Dr. Brown suggests keeping compost and other organic material in your yard to a minimum to decrease mold; changing clothes and showering after spending a significant time outdoors; using over-the-counter antihistamines as needed; and visiting your doctor if asthma symptoms increase.
For more information on treating fall allergies, try this helpful Allergy Drug Comparison Guide on MyLifeStages.