Fall Allergies in Full Bloom: How to Stop Them
Until recently, you wouldn't have known it was fall in much of the country. Sure, the calendar had changed, but the temperatures were still hovering in the 90s along the East Coast and in the Midwest. The only signs of the season: Football and sneezing. That's right, the ragweed wrath is upon us.
Although many people associate spring with allergies, fall wreaks havoc in many households. Ragweed, a yellow-flowering weed that begins blooming in August, in particular is a major nasal offender. A single plant, which grows in the East and Midwest, can produce up to one billion pollen grains. And three-fourths of Americans are allergic to those grains, according to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of American.
Mold spores from decaying leaves and grasses are another common fall allergy trigger. (Find out how to spot and remove mold in your house.)
And for people firing up dormant heaters, dust mites can be a real bear. (Learn how to improve your indoor air quality.)
But just because mold spores, ragweed pollen and dust mites cause you to sniffle, doesn't mean you have to suffer. Here are six things you can do to make managing your allergies easier:
• Cut down on your exposure. If ragweed pollen is really wafting in the outdoor air, stay inside and limit your outdoor activities to times of the day when the pollen count is at its lowest. Sites like Pollen.com can help you determine how much pollen is floating in your air and when to go outside.
• When you have to go outside, take off your shoes before you come back in. That way you won't track pollen all over the house. You may want to change the outer layer of your clothes and take a shower, too.
• Leave the pets outside in their fur. If you let them inside, keep them off the furniture to cut down on allergies.
• Use your heating and air conditioning system instead of opening windows. That breeze may feel good, but an open window is an avenue into your home for mold spores and pollen.
• Change your filters. Any dust or pollen left in your heating ducts will just get stirred up when you crank up your furnace. A new set of filters should help cut down on recirculated allergens.
• Develop an allergy management plan. See your doctor and plan for the season. Your physician should be able to direct you to the right prescription or over-the-counter drugs to manage your allergies.