The leaves are finally falling and cooler temperatures have arrived (albeit sporadically), and with that comes the inevitable seasonal allergies that can make even the pumpkin spice lovers miserable. Although it comes with the territory, there are a few tips to keep in mind so that you can enjoy cozy sweaters, bonfires, and hayrides without being confined to bed for days after.
While everyone responds differently to seasonal allergies, the most common causes of discomfort during the fall months are attributed to “hay fever.” While this name was coined by farmers who would stir up dust during the fall cutting season, it’s taken on a blanket description for ragweed and numerous other allergens. As leaves fall and gather on the ground, mold spores can fester and cause problems for those with mold sensitivities. Another common culprit is dust mites in the air as many of us are turning on our heaters for the first time this season. Whatever the cause, the discomfort is all the same – sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, and sore throats.
Beat the Bugs
While we don’t want to be confined to our homes any longer (thank you very much), understanding the forecast and pollen counts can help you be prepared as you venture on about your day. Many weather forecast apps provide an Allergy Alert, providing a rating for the day’s potential exposure to meddlesome allergens for your area. In addition to the trusty weatherman, there are numerous other steps that we can take that allow us to enjoy the season.
CLOSE THE WINDOWS – As tempting as it may be to let in the cool, crisp air, with that gentle breeze you’re also allowing pollen and other allergens into your home. Add a HEPA filter to your air conditioner to help filter the air in your home and remove allergens. Adding a dehumidifier to your bedroom can further help remove dust mites and help you to get a good night’s sleep.
PROTECT YOURSELF – If you are going to be spending a prolonged amount of time outdoors, protect yourself with a hat and sunglasses to prevent pollen and mold spores from getting into your hair or irritating your eyes. Try to avoid going outside before mid-morning to allow pollutants to settle, with the best time to be outside following a rainstorm.
SHAKE IT OFF – Whenever possible, removing your outside clothes when you come in from activities can help you to avoid spreading pollen throughout the house. Showering before bedtime allows you to literally wash off particles that could be inhibiting restful sleep. If your allergies are severe, or if you have spent a lot of time outdoors, washing your hair before bed also helps to cleanse yourself of any additional dust mites or allergens.
REMOVE LINGERING ALLERGENS – As tedious as it may sound, cleaning your home and washing bed linens weekly is one of the best ways to avoid buildup of allergens in your home. If this is too daunting of a task, focus your cleaning on those areas where you spend most of your time and any rooms with carpet or rugs where allergens can settle. Allergy-proof covers for your mattress and pillows can help tremendously, but don’t skip wash day for your linens. Besides, what’s a better feeling than slipping into a freshly made bed!
Fall allergy season typically lasts until the first hard freeze, and in this area of the South, that can mean a prolonged season of discomfort. While many symptoms can be controlled with over the counter medication, it may be necessary to consider allergy testing to further identify your triggers. At Teche Action Clinic, we know that allergies can put a damper on your entire day. We offer a variety of services to patients of all ages, giving you the resources necessary to beat seasonal allergies.