As we transition into the fall season, the changing leaves and cooler temperatures bring about a sense of comfort and nostalgia. However, for those who deal with allergies, this time of year can also bring discomfort and irritation.
It's important to note that allergens are a year-round presence, and the fall months are no exception. In this article, we'll look at some of the common fall allergens, what triggers them to be more prevalent during this time of year, and, most importantly, effective measures you can implement within your home to mitigate allergen exposure.
By taking these steps, you can significantly minimize allergy-related symptoms throughout the cooler months so you can enjoy the beautiful fall season.
What Allergens Are High in the Fall?
While many associate allergies with springtime and blooming flowers, fall allergies have their own triggers. One of the primary culprits during this season is ragweed pollen.
Ragweed is a member of the daisy family and releases large amounts of pollen into the air, causing allergic reactions in a significant portion of the population.
In fact, 10 to 20 percent of Americans, or approximately 32.5 to 65 million people, suffer from ragweed allergies. Other common fall allergens include dust mites, cocklebur, lamb's quarters, mugwort, nettle, pigweed, Russian thistle, sagebrush, and tumbleweed.
Mold is another potential allergen during the fall season. Damp piles of leaves and even decaying Halloween pumpkins can contribute to mold growth, triggering allergic responses in some people.
Should I Go to Urgent Care for Allergies?
Allergy symptoms, which include runny nose, watery eyes, coughing, and sneezing, are similar to other illnesses like the common cold and COVID-19. Because of this, you should see a medical provider to get a proper diagnosis.
With extended hours, CareNow® is a great option to visit for an allergy diagnosis. Each of our qualified medical providers is ready to care for you and get you back to your day in no time.
What Triggers Fall Allergens?
There are a lot of factors that play into allergies getting worse, but some of the common climate factors can have a major impact:
- Pollen is worse during the morning hours.
- Pollen counts increase on days that are warm and windy.
- Heat and high humidity can cause mold to grow rapidly.
- Although rain can wash pollen away, pollen counts also grow afterward.
- Cool nights and warm days are a recipe for allergies to thrive.
While there's not much you can do to control the external factors of fall allergens, creating a safe haven in your home may be easier than you think.
How to Reduce Allergens at Home
Minimizing allergens in your home is crucial for managing fall allergies. Here are effective strategies to create an allergen-reduced home so you can enjoy the season:
Keep Your Home Clean and Allergen-Free
Regular cleaning is a powerful tool for reducing indoor allergens. Vacuum your home frequently using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
Dust and wipe down surfaces, paying special attention to areas where allergens tend to accumulate, such as windowsills, blinds, and furniture. Wash your bedding, curtains, and rugs in hot water to eliminate allergens that may have settled on them.
Control Humidity and Ventilation
Maintain indoor humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent to prevent mold growth. Use a dehumidifier if necessary, especially in damp areas like basements.
Ensure proper ventilation by using exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens to reduce moisture buildup. Clean and replace air filters in your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system regularly to trap allergens and improve indoor air quality.
Close Windows and Doors
While the crisp fall breeze may be tempting, keeping your windows and doors closed can significantly reduce the entry of outdoor allergens. Use air conditioning with clean filters to circulate and filter indoor air, providing relief from outdoor allergens.
Use High-Efficiency Air Purifiers
Consider using portable air purifiers with HEPA filters to capture airborne allergens such as pollen and pet dander. Place these purifiers in bedrooms and other frequently occupied rooms to ensure cleaner air for you and your family.
Manage Your Pets' Allergens
If you have pets, regularly groom and bathe them to minimize the spread of allergens. Wash your pets' bedding and vacuum your home frequently to remove pet dander, a common indoor allergen. Consider designating pet-free zones in your home, especially in bedrooms and other sleeping areas.
Use Allergen-Proof Covers
Invest in allergen-proof covers for pillows, mattresses, and box springs to create a barrier against dust mites, a common indoor allergen. These covers are designed to prevent allergens from accumulating and can be easily washed so you have a clean sleeping environment.
Stay Informed About Pollen Counts
Monitor local pollen forecasts and counts so you can plan your outdoor activities when pollen levels are lower. Choose times when pollen counts are low like after rainfall to reduce your exposure to allergens.
Consult a Medical Provider
If your fall allergies are particularly severe or if your symptoms continue despite home-based measures, consult a medical provider. They can recommend personalized strategies and medications to manage your allergies and improve your quality of life during the fall season.
By implementing these strategies, you can create an allergen-reduced environment that allows you to fully enjoy the beauty of fall without the discomfort of allergic reactions. Taking proactive steps to reduce allergens at home can make a significant difference in how you experience this vibrant and colorful season.
CareNow® urgent care clinics can provide you with allergy testing and a treatment plan that will get you back to your normal self in no time. Each of our more than 225 locations throughout the country is open after hours and on the weekends, so we're available when you need care most.
We also offer a Web Check-In® feature that allows you to check in before your appointment and wait from anywhere to avoid long waits at the clinic.
At CareNow®, we've also received the title of Accredited Urgent Care Center from the Urgent Care Association (UCA), so you know you're in good hands.