Fighting Fall Allergies

Ragweed pollen is the biggest allergy trigger in the fall, and needs to be avoided, along with other allergic triggers like mold and grass pollen. Here are some tips from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology to help you steer clear of your worst allergy foes.

Fight mold.  Mold allergies can be tough to outrun, especially this year! Mold can grow anywhere there is water, and is a frequent foe in the fall. Mold can be found in your basement, bathroom, a leaky cabinet under your sink, or in a pile of dead leaves in your backyard. The key to reducing mold is moisture control. Be sure to use bathroom fans and clean up any standing water immediately. Scrub any visible mold from surfaces with detergent and water, and completely dry. You can also help ward off mold by keeping home humidity below 60 percent and cleaning gutters regularly.

Keep pollen at bay.  Ragweed and other pollens need to be kept out of your house. Leave your shoes at the door, and take a shower, wash your hair and change clothes after you’ve been working or playing outdoors. Close both car and home windows, and use your air conditioning so pollen doesn’t get indoors.

Be armed for combat.  Wear a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask when mowing the lawn, raking leaves, or when doing other outdoor chores. Wear gloves so you won’t transfer pollen to your eyes or skin. Take your allergy medication before heading outside. If your allergies are severe, consider having someone else do the gardening and fall raking.

See your allergist.  Allergists are trained to identify your allergies and provide a personal treatment plan. They can also provide immunotherapy, allergy shots, which target your exact triggers and can greatly reduce the severity of your symptoms. Allergy shots can also prevent the development of asthma in some children with seasonal allergies.