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Why Are My Fall Allergies So Bad

Why This Season Is Bad For Georgians

Fall Allergies

This season promises to be a bad one for those with allergies. The summer was a hot and humid one, creating conditions that are prime for the growth and thriving of the ragweed and mold pollens that are the key factors in fall allergies. For those that have both allergies and other conditions like asthma, this could be a bad combination.

Doctors are warning people that if you are prone to allergies in the fall, take action early to keep the symptoms at bay.

The Most Common Fall Allergies

Its such a pretty season, but you cant seem to stop sneezing. So what is it that youre actually allergic to?

Fall allergens are generally weeds, Dr. Aronica says. He breaks down some of the most common allergens during this time of year.

Ragweed

The most common fall allergen is ragweed, a member of the daisy family that starts to bloom in North America in late August and lives through autumn.

Ragweeds flowers produce significant amounts of pollen, which makes it an especially potent allergen. A single ragweed plant can release up to a billion grains of pollen!

Other seasonal weeds

Ragweed may be the primary culprit of fall allergies, but it certainly isnt the only one. Other weeds associated with allergic rhinitis include:

  • Cocklebur.
  • Tumbleweed.

Coping With Fall Allergies

Did you know that fall allergies are different than spring allergies? Find out why and how to treat them from Dr. Cindy Gellner.

Dr. Cindy Gellner: So you might not suffer from spring allergies, but fall’s a whole different ballgame. I’m Dr. Cindy Gellner from University of Utah healthcare and today I’ll tell you how to cope with fall allergies on the scope.

Announcer: Medical news and research from University Utah Physicians and Specialists you can use for a happier and healthier life. You’re listening to The Scope.

Announcer: We’re your daily dose of science, conversation, medicine. This is The Scope, University of Utah Health Sciences Radio.

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Ways You’re Making Your Seasonal Allergies Worse

4 min Read Time

For many people in the United States, the warmer, longer days of spring can’t come soon enough. But for tens of millions of people, early spring marks the beginning of yet another allergy season – and the sniffling, sneezing, itching, wheezing and overall frustration that comes with it.

In the U.S., those with seasonal allergies may contend with these irritating symptoms as early as February and they may linger until early summer. The main culprits triggering this misery are tree, grass and weed pollen. These yellowish powders fertilize plants and are spread by wind, insects and birds.

A rainy spring can help plants – and mold – grow more quickly, causing allergy symptoms to linger for months. Milder winter temperatures can also cause plants to pollinate early, which means that spring allergy season is starting earlier and lasting longer.

And the problem is likely getting worse, not better. Pollen counts are expected to double by 2040, according to research presented at the 2012 Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

If you’re one of the millions affected by seasonal allergies, it’s important to make sure you’re doing all that you can to keep your symptoms under control. This includes being aware of all the ways you may be unintentionally making your allergies even worse.

Avoid these missteps, which could trigger a flare up of your symptoms.

Is It An Allergy Or Covid

Why is my asthma worse in fall?

When COVID-19 and seasonal allergies are circulating at the same time, every sniffle can lead you to worry that you might have the virus. From the perspective of a parent, one of the biggest issues is when kids in school have allergy symptoms that are poorly controlled, and then the school system sends them home or says they need a physicians note, Dr. Leeds says.

The CDC has a Venn diagram that shows symptoms the two conditions have in common. These include congestion, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, runny nose, sore throat, and shortness of breath. But comparing the most common symptoms reveals clear differences. Seasonal allergies usually cause itchy or watery eyes and sneezing, while COVID-19 is characterized by fever and chills, muscle and body aches, new loss of taste and smell, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhea.

Because of COVID-19, people are afraid of you when youre sniffling, says Dr. Hsu. But it goes both waysa lot of people are sniffling and sneezing and coughing, and they are not getting tested for COVID-19, because they assume its allergies. And they are probably correct.

Often the distinction is clearpeople with allergies itch more, and they dont have the fatigue, malaise, and fever that comes with COVID-19. But anyone who is concerned should call their doctor, she says.

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What Allergy Treatments Are Available

Treatments can help a great deal, says Dr. Hsu. Allergy treatment has changed over the past 10 years, with a number of first-line medications now available over the counter, she says. So, while we have lots of consultations with patients, we dont necessarily send a prescription to the pharmacy. We often advise people on what to buybut we want to be very specific, because there are certainly a lot of over-the-counter medications that we would not recommend as first-line treatments.

For instance, she might start with antihistamines for itching and runny nose, steroid nasal sprays for nasal passage congestion, and antihistamine eye drops for ocular symptoms. If a patient is still uncomfortable, she might recommend a decongestant, but not for daily use, since its a medication patients can become overly reliant on. Likewise, some patients should avoid antihistamines that are excessively sedating, she says.

The problem is that some people think theyll just grin and bear it. But… you can take steps to minimize those weeks of misery.Yale Medicine pediatric allergist Stephanie Leeds, MD

Its helpful when patients have a skin or blood test to find out exactly what they are allergic to. If you are really symptomatic, its helpful to get tested at least once. I dont think you need to be re-tested year after year, but at some point, establishing the specific triggers can be helpful, because then you can take steps to avoid exposure, Dr. Leeds says.

Skipping Your Evening Shower

After a long day, the last thing you may want to do before falling into your bed is take a shower and shampoo your hair. But you should. Not taking a shower before you go to sleep allows the pollen that’s accumulated on your body, hair and clothing to get into bed with you. This could not only make your symptoms flare up, but also prevent you from getting enough sleep. Make nightly showers part of your routine to remove pollen before bedtime.

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Symptoms Of Fall Season Allergies In Dogs

Oftentimes, dog owners attribute just a few symptoms to allergies, such as sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. Dogs, however, show allergic reactions in different ways. Symptoms of fall season allergies in dogs include:

  • Skin itchiness
  • Redness and irritation on the skin
  • Painful stomach
  • Scratching and chewing on feet or skin
  • Sneezing
  • Reverse sneezing

Types

Fall season allergies in dogs are usually caused by the seasonal plants releasing pollen into the air. Other types of fall season allergies include:

  • Dust mite allergies
  • Contact allergies to indoor surfaces

You Let The Outside In

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Mold spores and pollen can stick to everything, including hair, skin, and clothing, Dr. Shah says. You probably dont even realize youre doing it, but theres a good chance youre tracking irritants into the house. Minimize your risk with the following tips:

Wear a face mask when you rake leaves outdoors to avoid breathing in mold spores.

Throw your clothes into the washer and head straight for the shower when youre done biking or gardening,

Brush or wipe down pets after walks. Pollen can hitchhike into your homeand onto your couch, bed, or wherever else your dog likes to hang out.

Leave your shoes outside. Forget dirt and mudyou could be traipsing pollen and mold throughout the house. No outside area? Keep them in a separate closet.

Close the windows. Be sure to do this on windy or high pollen count days, and especially if you live near a busy road. Pollution is an irritant to those with respiratory allergies, says Dr. Leija. Cant bear having no fresh air? PollenTEC makes clean air window and door screens that filter dust, pollen, and exhaust soot so you can enjoy the fall breeze while it lasts.

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What Causes My Fall Allergies

Once you are certain you are dealing with allergies rather than a cold or flu, itâs important to understand what istriggering your fall allergy symptoms.

Ragweed is the most common fall allergen. Ragweed usually starts to release pollen in August, lasting into September andOctober. Depending on where the fall allergies occur, ragweed may trigger allergy symptoms until temperatures drop to freezing at night.

Other weeds produce pollen in the autumn that can trigger fall allergies. Usually this begins in late summer and can lastinto early or mid-fall, especially when the weather is unseasonably warm. Fall weeds that cause allergies include:

â Goldenrod

â Dockwood

â Tumblewood

â Mugwort

â Sagebrush

â Cedar elm

â Sheepâs sorrel

â Pigweed

â Curly dock

â Lambâs quarter

Mold is another common allergen in the fall, both indoors and outdoors. Mold grows easily in damp locations, so piles of wet leaves can encourage this common fall allergen.

Warm temperatures that extend into fall can also trigger allergy symptoms. High humidity can trigger the release of mold spores, while dry, breezy weather can bring in mold spores or pollen from faraway.

Certain outdoor activities can also trigger allergies. For example, raking leaves or mowing the lawn in the fall maytrigger allergy symptoms by stirring up pollen and mold spores.

How Do Allergies Work

When it comes to the human body and how it is impacted by exposure to an allergen in the environment, there will be a chain reaction that will take place within both the immune system and the respiratory system of these affected individuals. The human bodys immune system takes on the role as a protector or shield for a persons health, specifically protecting them from foreign invaders that may try to enter into the body. Whenever an outside substance finds its way within the body, the immune system will be responsible for determining whether the substance is good for your body or if it is a potential threat to the body and health of an individual. As the substance enters into the body and is deemed to be a threat, the immune system will trigger and produce antibodies that will immediately attach to the harmful cells. In addition, these antibodies will also signal other cells to attack or destroy the invader .

Once the immune system responds to the allergen in the body and releases the antibodies to attach to the harmful cells, the immune system will additionally release histamines. Histamines are chemicals that our bodies produce naturally, and these chemicals when faced with allergen exposure will be the chemical responsible for provoking the well-known allergy symptoms associated with allergies such as sneezing, itchy nose or eyes, runny nose, and watery eyes, according to WebMD.

Why Are My Allergies So Bad Right Now?

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Ragweed: The Prime Cause Of Fall Allergies

Many plant varieties can cause hay fever, but the 17 varieties of ragweed that grow in North America pose the biggest threat. Three out of four people who are allergic to pollen are allergic to ragweed.

A hardy annual, ragweed thrives just about anywhere turf grasses and other perennials havenât taken root — along roads and riverbanks, in vacant lots, and so on. Over the course of a single year, one ragweed plant can produce a staggering one billion grains of pollen. And it doesnât fall harmlessly to the ground. It floats on the breeze. Pollen has been found hundreds of miles out to sea and two miles up into the atmosphere.

Given the profusion of pollen, is there anything hay fever sufferers can do to limit their misery?

Conventional wisdom says that hay fever sufferers should stay indoors during morning hours, because pollen counts are highest then. Not so, says Neil Kao, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Greenville. âIâve reviewed 50 years of medical literature on this, and there is simply no proof that hay fever sufferers can minimize their symptoms by staying indoors or going outdoors at certain times of day. This is a myth that even many general physicians believe.â

But experts say there are effective ways to curb symptoms of hay fever, including avoidance strategies and — if thatâs not enough — medical therapy. Here are six proven strategies:

1. Make Your Home a Pollen-Free Haven

2. Wear a Mask

Why Your Fall Allergies Feel Worse In Colorado This Year

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If your allergy symptoms feel worse this year, they probably are. But it can be hard to tell the difference between seasonal allergies exacerbatfed by smoke blanketing the area from California wildfires and, perhaps, COVID-19.

Fort Collins allergist Dr. Bill Lanting of Allergy & Asthma Center of the Rockies said this year’s rough allergy season can be blamed on a wet spring.

Good precipitation in the spring led to a good tree, grass and weed season.

“Even though it’s been dry the last couple of months, everything was well seeded and there was more concentration of allergens out there,” Lanting said.

Certain weeds, like ragweed, are more prominent in the fall. And as trees drop their leaves, they can increase mold counts, said Dr. Jason Sigmon, a UCHealth otolaryngologist in Steamboat Springs. “Everything that was living that’s now dead involves mold,” he said.

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Certain Fruits And Veggies

Proteins in certain foods can cause cross-reactivity in people with allergies. The result: When you take a bite, you end up with an itchy mouth. Ragweed sufferers are likely to cross-react with bananas and melons, including honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelons and tomatoes.

Zucchini, sunflower seeds, dandelions and chamomile tea may also pose problems, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America .

Other Tips For Lessening Nighttime Allergies And Getting Better Sleep

Here are some of our top tips for getting your night allergies under control and your sleep back on track:

  • If you think its indoor mold thats worsening your nighttime allergies, make sure you have adequate ventilation in every room of the house. This goes double for kitchens, bathrooms, and basements, where humidity levels can change more often.
  • For indoor mold allergies, you also want to use dehumidifiers in the above rooms, as these keep too much moisture from forming.
  • Make sure your home doesnt have any pipes or roof seals with leaks. If you spot these, get them repaired.
  • For those with cockroach allergies, call an exterminator. They can tell you if there are any upstairs gaps where cockroaches can get into your bedroom. For instance, they may squeeze in through a window, a crack in the wall, or a small crevice.
  • After youre done spending time with your pet, change clothes and wash the ones you wore while spending time with your animal. Dont bring clothes into your bedroom unless theyre clean.
  • If you have a dust mite allergy, wash your sheets and other bedding at a high temperature, at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit. The hot water will help remove any lingering mites.
  • Make sure you change and clean your bedding every week to keep dust mites away.
  • Get plastic or fabric covers for your pillows, box spring, and mattresses so dust mites cant get into your bed.

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What Is An Allergen

Everybody knows what allergies are, but when it comes to breaking down the actual mechanics of what causes allergies and their symptoms in the human body there will be many gaps. To understand how allergies work or develop inside of a person, you first will need to comprehend the underlying cause of allergies, which are allergens. According to AAAAI, allergens are usually considered as harmless substances that when they enter into the human body will trigger a response that originates in the immune system and will produce an allergic reaction . When this reaction is elicited in the bodys immune system, it will also trigger the production of antibodies called IgE that works to defend your body against the allergen.

Some of the most common allergens, that most people are aware of will include dust, dust mites, pet dander, mold, pollen, etc. These various allergens can be produced in both indoor and outdoor environments, depending on the specific allergen, and no matter where the allergen is created it can easily be spread from different environments through the air thus, the reason behind seasonal allergy symptoms inside of your home.

Doctors Explain Why Your Allergies May Feel Worse As Those Crisp Autumn Days Set In

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Ah, the cool comfort of fall. Crunchy red and gold leaves underfoot, plaid shirts on display, crisp wind in your hair, pumpkins everywhere. It’s my favorite time of year, except for one thing: annoying fall allergies are back. Why do the sniffles, sneezes, and itchy eyes make an appearance so many months after pollen picks up? POPSUGAR spoke to allergists to get to the bottom of why some allergy sufferers’ symptoms always seem to get worse this time of year.

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Common Seasonal Allergy Triggers

If you sneeze and cough during certain times of the year, you may have seasonal allergies. However, occasional allergies arent something you just have to live with.

In many areas of the United States, spring allergies begin in February and last until the early summer. Tree pollination begins earliest in the year followed by grass pollination later in the spring and summer and ragweed in the late summer and fall. In tropical climates, however, grass may pollinate throughout a good portion of the year. Mild winter temperatures can cause plants to pollinate early. A rainy spring can also promote rapid plant growth and lead to an increase in mold, causing symptoms to last well into the fall.

The most common culprit for fall allergies is ragweed, a plant that grows wild almost everywhere, but especially on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Ragweed blooms and releases pollen from August to November. In many areas of the country, ragweed pollen levels are highest in early to mid-September.

Other plants that trigger fall allergies include:

  • Burning bush
  • Sagebrush and mugwort
  • Tumbleweed and Russian thistle

While the timing and severity of an allergy season vary across the country, the following climate factors also can influence how bad your symptoms might be:

Find expert care with an Allergist.

An allergist can pinpoint the cause and help you find relief.

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