Understanding Fall Allergies & Covid
As the fall allergy season gets underway, the more typical symptoms that allergy-sufferers feel may be somewhat heightened by awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aaron N. Pearlman, M.D., FACS, attending otolaryngologist at Weill Cornell Medicine, helps sort out what to expect this season, the signs and symptoms, and what options patients with allergies may want to discuss with their specialists.
Trees Grass And Other Weeds
While it may be the main allergen, ragweed isn’t the only fall culprit. Dr. Moss says other types of weeds, such as pigweed, marsh elder, and mugwort also plant their seeds through pollination in the fall months so they can reproduce in the following year.
Depending on where you live, trees and grass can also pollinate during fall. According to Dr. Moss, parts of the American west coast as well as the south experience some grass pollination in the fall. Sayantani Sindher, MD, clinical associate professor of allergy and immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine and an allergist with Stanford Healthcare, tells Health there are many trees that bloom in the fall months, as well. “For example, in California, elm pollen is one of the highest allergens right now,” she says.
Sudden Allergies To Fruits You Were Fine With Before
Certain fruitslike bananas and melonscontain compounds that are very similar to the pollens in trees or ragweed. So when you eat them, you may get the kind of reaction you get when you spend time in nature, says Hurwitz.
In fact, when youre in allergy season and you have symptoms, even non-allergens can be irritating, too, says Dr. Blair. Perfumes, paint fumes, and even pollution can be harder to withstand when youre already inflamed with allergies.
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What Food Changes May Be Needed For Allergic Esophagitis
You may need to stop eating certain foods for a while to see if your symptoms improve. Start eating these foods again one at a time as directed. If certain foods cause your symptoms, do not eat them. Some common examples are dairy, nuts, eggs, and seafood. You may need to change what you eat to relieve your symptoms. You may need to see a dietitian to help you get the right amount of nutrients.
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Do You Have A Cold Or Allergies
Its easy to get them confused. Just ask Paul Ehrlich, MD, a professor of pediatrics at New York University. Hed been an allergist for years when he came down with what he thought was a cold. Id had a watery, runny nose for several days when one of my patients took a look at me and said, Oh, you have allergies, too!’ Ehrlich says.
Hed never had allergies before, but a checkup with another doctor confirmed that the patient was right. Turns out I was allergic to birch trees, which were in bloom at the time, he says.
A cold is an infection caused by a virus. Allergies are your immune systems reaction to a substance like pollen or pet dander. Because the two conditions cause similar symptoms, like sniffles and stuffiness, many people get them mixed up. Knowing which is which can help you get the right treatment, and that will help you feel better faster.
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Tips For Dealing With A Mold Allergy
- Clean up fall leaves and yard debris as soon as possible to avoid giving mold a place to thrive. Wear an N-95 mask when cleaning up moldy areas, working with mulch, or cleaning up rotting logs and wood. Or have someone without a mold allergy do it, if possible.
- Wear sunglasses, a face mask, and a hat when outside.
- Fix and remove sources of mold in your home. Repair water leaks right away. Use exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom. Dont leave wet towels and clothing sitting around.
- Use a dehumidifier to remove moisture in your home. Keep humidity below 45%.
Can Allergic Rhinitis Be Prevented Or Avoided
Allergic rhinitis cannot be prevented. You can help your symptoms by avoiding the things that cause your symptoms, including:
- Keeping windows closed. This is especially important during high-pollen seasons.
- Washing your hands after petting animals.
- Using dust- and mite-proof bedding and mattress covers.
- Wearing glasses outside to protect your eyes.
- Showering before bed to wash off allergens from hair and skin.
You can also avoid things that can make your symptoms worse, such as:
- Aerosol sprays.
- Wood smoke.
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Does Yale Medicine Offer Specialized Allergy Care
Yale Medicines Allergy & Clinical Immunology physicians have expertise in diagnosing and treating allergies and immunologic diseases. The department schedules weekly conferences to guide care of complex allergy cases, so patients benefit from multiple expert opinions.
In addition, we conduct research to determine the molecular basis of allergic disorders in order to develop new ways to treat people with allergies. Our goal is to help you better enjoy the seasons as they turn by keeping the achoos in check.
Your Symptoms Only Show Up At Certain Times
If you have seasonal allergies, your symptoms should arise and go away around the same time each year. For most people, seasonal allergy symptoms begin in the spring and end in the fall. However, depending on your allergy triggers, you may experience allergic rhinitis in any of the four seasons. Here’s a rundown of plants that commonly cause seasonal allergies:
Spring: Tree pollen, particularly that from oak, elm, birch, cedar, willow, poplar, horse chestnut and alder trees.
Summer:Grasses, such as ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, Timothy grass, Bermuda grass and more.
Fall:Pollen from weeds is the main concern in the fall months. Many people are allergic to the pollen in ragweed, tumbleweed, pigweed, sagebrush, Russian thistle and more.
Winter: Most people find that their allergies go dormant during the winter months because most plants don’t pollinate during winter. If you still get watery eyes and a runny nose during cold weather, you might be allergic to indoor allergens, such as dust mites, mold or pet dander.
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Why Are My Allergies So Bad In The Fall
Unfortunately for allergy sufferers like me, allergies are not just a springtime nuisance. There are many fall allergens that can cause the same annoying symptoms. “Allergies in the fall can be as intense as spring for many people,” Neeta Ogden, MD, a board-certified allergist and medical advisor at Curex, told POPSUGAR. “The biggest culprit is fall ragweed, other weeds, and grasses. As the leaves and branches fall, outdoor molds can also cause fall allergies.”
Like spring allergens, these fall culprits tend to be most prevalent for a specific period of time but the climate can also have an impact. “Fall allergy season for those with weed allergies will start in August and last through October,” explained Sanjeev Jain, MD, PhD, a board-certified allergist and immunologist practicing at Columbia Asthma and Allergy Clinic. “Weather conditions such as a drought, increased rainfall, snow, temperature, and other factors can affect the length and severity of these allergy seasons.”
Top 9 Natural Allergy Relief Home Remedies
According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, one in five people, or an estimated 50 million Americans, suffer from some type of allergies. The chances are high that you or someone you know deals with ongoing allergies, whether seasonal allergies, food allergies or another type, and could use allergy relief at least from time to time.
Most people who struggle to find allergy relief go to the doctor to be treated and/or are routinely given pharmaceuticals ranging from acetaminophens to antihistamines, both of which may actually further aggravate the symptoms they were given for. If you prefer not to take prescriptions to keep your symptoms under a control, what can help allergies at home?
Home remedies for allergies including symptoms like congested sinuses, headaches, and watery or itchy eyes include using frankincense essential oil, eucalyptus oil and quercetin. Below youll learn about nine amazing, all-natural home remedies for allergies that can help provide fast allergy relief.
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How Do Fall Allergy Symptoms Compare To The Symptoms Of Covid
Some COVID-19 and fall allergy symptoms overlap, such as cough and shortness of breath.
But a primary symptom of COVID-19 is a fever of 100.4 or higher. Fever is not a symptom of allergies.
Another main difference between COVID-19 and allergies is spread. COVID-19 can spread from person to person, while allergies are not contagious.
The chart on this page can help you decide if your symptoms are more like allergies or more like COVID-19. If you are unsure whether your symptoms are fall allergies or COVID-19, schedule an appointment with your doctor and ask about testing for COVID-19.
How To Reduce Symptoms From Fall Outdoor Allergens
- Pre-medicate with an antihistamine and/or corticosteroid nasal spray 2 hours prior to allergen exposure. For eye allergies, use eye drops as needed.
- Avoid pollens. In late summer and early fall, levels are highest in the morning. Pollen can also surge on windy, warm days and after a thunderstorm or rainfall. Limit time outside when pollen counts are high usually in the mornings through early afternoons.
- Avoid fallen leaves. Kids might love to leap into piles of leaves in the backyard, but even just a playful kick can release millions of mold spores into the air and into your airways. If fall allergens leave your lungs wheezy and your eyes drippy, hire someone to clean leaves from your lawn, gutter or garden. Or ask a friend to rake your leaves in return for a free hour of babysitting or other task.
- Change clothes when coming inside.
- Wear a mask when raking leaves and doing outdoor activities.
- Monitor pollen and mold counts. Airborne pollens can travel for several miles.
- Keep windows and doors shut at your home close windows of your car while driving.
- Take a shower, wash your hair and change your clothes after time outside.
- Dry laundry indoors rather than on a clothesline outdoors.
Youre Not Consistent With Your Medication
It takes you three months to use up your 30-day supply of OTC allergy meds and you get your allergy shots only when youre feeling crummy. Sound familiar? Compliance is what both Dr. Shah and Dr. Leija cite as the biggest reason their patients cant get ahead of their symptoms.
It takes about two to three days for allergy medicine to kick in, explains Dr. Leija. And you cant just stop when you feel better or when the pollen count in your area is low. Pollen counts vary so much by the weather and the barometric pressure, he explains, so consistently taking your medication on days when numbers are low will prep you for when they surge again.
Tips For Fall Allergy Relief
Do fall allergies have you hiding out in your home? Get back to enjoying the great outdoors with these allergy management tips.
When you think of seasonal allergies, you may think spring. But for some people living with allergies, symptoms like a runny nose or itchy, watery eyes can be just as troublesome in the fall. Along with cooler weather and changing foliage, weeds and other plants release pollen into the air and outdoor molds grow under fallen leaves, both of which can trigger fall allergies. Ragweed, which produces pollen from August to November, triggers allergies in as many as 23 million Americans, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
Across the United States, the number one fall allergy trigger is ragweed, mainly because the plant dominates the southeast part of the country, says Inderpal Randhawa, MD, a board-certified lung, immunology, an allergy specialist with the Lung & Allergy Institute of Los Angeles. Weeds and outdoor molds become airborne and can wreak havoc with allergies.
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Feeling Tired All The Time
Its not just all the congestion that makes you feel out of it. Seasonal allergies themselves can drag your energy down, says Eugene Hurwitz, M.D., medical director of the Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia. When your body encounters an allergen, it releases histamine, and histamine in your body can make you feel fatigued, he says. In addition, the inflammation that happens in your sinuses when you are allergic to something can cause sinus infections, which will also leave you feeling slow.
Fall Mold Allergy Symptoms
Mold allergies cause a lot of the same symptoms as the other fall allergies mentioned such as sneezing, itchy eyes and nose, runny nose, and coughing. Some patients experience itchy, dry skin as a result of environmental molds, too.
Asthmatics are often severely impacted because mold spores move easily in the air and are inhaled, putting you at risk for a severe asthma attack.
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How Can I Treat My Allergies
There are many medications you can use:
help relieve stuffiness and dry up the mucus in your nose.
Immunotherapy in the form of allergy shots or oral tablets or drops can also help you feel better.
You can buy some allergy medications without a prescription, but talk to your doctor to make sure you get the right one. nasal sprays, for example, should only be used for 3 days. If you use them longer, you may actually get more congested. And if you have high blood pressure, some allergy drugs may not be right for you.
Causes Of Seasonal Allergies
Hay fever happens when your immune system identifies an airborne substance thats usually harmless as dangerous. It responds to that substance, or allergen, by releasing histamines and other chemicals into your bloodstream. Those chemicals produce the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Common triggers of hay fever vary from one season to another.
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Are There Home Remedies To Help With Blocked Ears
Often holding your nose and mouth closed and blowing until you feel your ears pop helps to equalise the pressure in your middle ear, relieving the symptoms of a blocked ear. However, you need to be careful not to blow too hard and damage the delicate structures in your ear, such as the eardrum. As your blocked ear is caused by hayfever, this procedure is likely to only bring temporary relief.
Another home remedy is to inhale steam, The steam may help to thin and loosen the mucus, which then may be released. A hot steamy shower, sauna or humidifier will work in the same way.
Eating hot foods or spicy foods , often helps to soften the mucus that is blocking your ears, and will also help with any congestion of the nasal cavities.
Although not exactly a remedy, it is important to keep your head up, as bending over with your head down increases the pressure inside your ear, worsening the feelings of congestion.
Unproven Methods To Test For Allergies
A number of methods claim to test for allergies, but they have not been medically or scientifically proven. They can be costly and could lead to dangerous avoidance of certain foods. The organisation representing allergists recommends that you do not use certain methods to have potential allergies tested. These methods include:
- cytotoxic food testing
- Vega testing.
Always speak with your doctor if you are thinking of using a complementary medicine or therapy to test for allergies.
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There Also Has Been Discussion Of Air Filters Helping Prevent Covid
High-efficiency particulate air filters and purifiers are used to decrease the amount of free air particles down to about 0.3 micrometers in diameter. Though these filters are often recommended for patients who suffer from allergies, the subjective and objective improvement in symptoms have been mixed.
In COVID-19, it is still unclear whether theyre helpful. It may be possible that aerosolized particles could be less than 0.3 microns and not captured by the filter.
Most important, though, is to properly clear SARS-CoV-2 by ventilating the purifier to the outside world. If the purifier returns air back into the same space, this is not adequate. But if air can be moved outside through a HEPA filtration system, this may be beneficial to clear a room of particles, including the virus that causes COVID-19.
Fall Mold Allergy Treatments
There are, of course, other molds to consider, but in the spirit of fall allergies it is important to stick with your antihistamine or allergy medication routine and carry your inhaler with you at all times.
Molds are lighter and float in the air more during the day, becoming heavier and settling to the ground at night.
Limit your outdoor exposure during the day if you are having difficulty. If you do need to go outside, consider wearing a face mask.
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How Can You Tell A Cold From Allergies
This can be challenging, Dr. Wada says. Still, there are a few signs that you might be dealing with one vs. the other.
Typically, allergies will last longerweeks to monthswhereas colds will last one to two weeks, Dr. Wada says. Colds also tend to have more body symptoms like muscle aches and even a fever, Dr. Parikh says. And, unless you develop an infection related to your allergies, you shouldnt get a fever from allergies.
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