Are fall allergies different than spring allergies?

Think You Have A Fall Cold? It Might Actually Just Be Allergies
Think You Have A Fall Cold? It Might Actually Just Be Allergies

If you are a seasonal allergy sufferer, you probably got a small respite during the summer months, relieving you of your chronic runny nose and itchy eyes. Now, with the temperatures starting to cool down, your allergy symptoms are heating up once again. Are the allergies you have to deal with now the same as the ones you had to manage just a few short months ago?

The answer is yes and no.

Fall Allergies are the same as spring Allergies because:

  • The symptoms are the same, including runny nose, itchy watery eyes, scratchy throat, headache and worsening asthma symptoms.

  • The treatment is usually the same, ranging from prevention to medication to allergy shots.

  • The resulting disability both from the symptoms and the side effects of the medications are the same. The frustration is the same.

  • The mechanism of action is the same. Your body is hypersensitive to something in your environment and is overreacting.

With all the similarities, can't we just think of allergies in the fall and spring as identical? Not exactly. Knowing some of the important differences, can help you manage symptoms and cope a little better.

Fall Allergies are different than spring Allergies because:

  • The triggers are different. In the Spring, we are dealing mostly with tree pollens. In the Fall, allergens come from weed pollen, mold and dust mites. Ragweed is the biggest culprit.

  • About ¾ of people allergic to Spring pollen, will be allergic to ragweed.

  • If you are allergic to ragweed, you may also be sensitive to melons, bananas, zucchini and other fruits and vegetables.

  • Because the triggers are different, avoidance is different.

The first and most critical step to controlling allergies is to avoid triggers.

  • Avoiding ragweed is similar to avoiding Spring pollen. Minimize time outdoors, keep windows shut during the day, and check ragweed pollen counts.

  • Avoiding mold is a little different. Mold grows in moist areas. Therefore, it just loves piles of fallen leaves.If your children are playing in the leaves, make sure to wash them and their clothes as soon as they enter your home. If your child is the allergy sufferer, keep them out of the leaves. If you have a pet that spends time outdoors, it is important to wash them when they reenter the house as well. Otherwise, they will be shaking mold spores all over your home.

    • Invest in a dehumidifier to keep your home free of excess moisture.

    • Wear a mask when you rake leaves.

    • Look into getting a HEPA filter for your heating system.

  • Avoid dust mites by getting them at the source.Before you turn on your heat for the winter, get your heating ducts cleaned.

    • Wash blankets and sweaters that were stored for the summer months before wearing.

    • Clean carpets frequently.

I don't normally suffer from allergies, but I had a headache for about five days. I tried fluids, ibuprofen and rest with no relief. I took a Claritin and I feel much better. If you think you or your child may have seasonal allergies, a good way to help both diagnose and treat is by taking an over the counter medicine to see if it brings any relief. If symptoms persist, definitely make an appointment with your doctor.

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Originally published