Fall has officially arrived, and you know what that means: the leaves on the trees are falling, the weather is getting cooler, and common fall allergies are making their comeback! Whether it be the grass, weeds, or pollen, these pesky allergens are rearing their ugly heads and becoming an annual annoying part of life once again. It is undeniable that seasonal allergies are officially back on the scene and getting on everyone’s nerve! Could there possibly a way to make it through this fall season unscathed? Below are some of the common fall allergies and how to prevent yourself from suffering a reaction this season!
If you aren’t sure what is causing your allergic reactions this season, chances are it is ragweed. With 75% of people allergic to the plant, ragweed is at the top of the game when it comes to common fall allergens. This plant has made its home in the North, South, and Midwest areas of the United States, meaning that this plant is kind of hard to avoid unless you move out West. What is worse is that ragweed can grow anywhere – fields, parking lots, on the side of the highway – anywhere! Ragweed produces over a million pollen grains that can travel up over 300 miles in the wind and in some parts of the South can even still pollinate in the winter.
The next seasonal allergen on our list is molds. Molds usually start popping up in the spring and last year-round, but they can become more airborne in the fall. This is because mold likes to grow on leaves during the fall, and when those leaves are disturbed, the mold spores wind up being spread throughout the air. These spores are light and easy to inhale, making your susceptibility to an allergic reaction much more likely. Spores typically are at their peak during the day, but they begin to return to the ground as the day ends and cools off.
Lamb’s Quarter may sound sweet, but when you are sneezing and coughing because of it, it is not so nice! Lamb’s Quarter grows throughout the United States in rich, moist soil. These flowers are pollinated by the wind and grow until October. Although some people are allergic to it, others like to use the plant to eat, partaking in the leaves and seeds. But be careful! Saponins that are in the seed can be toxic!
Everyone has, at some point in time, experienced the thing that is a cocklebur. Pollination of this plant occurs from July to September. Cockleburs are a tricky little weed because they have little hooks on them that attach to certain things. Whether it be your clothes, in your hair, or even in animal fur, they hook on to you and hold on for dear life! Here is the trick: as they are hooked on to you, they release the pollen into the atmosphere and on everything in sight – this is how people get allergic reactions! This plant is related to the ragweed plant, making them even more likely to impact you in some way.
Though found throughout the United States, wormwood is most common in the central section of America. This plant produces an abundant amount of pollen and is also wind-pollinated. This plant is considered a severe allergen and can grow from one to even ten feet high – that’s a pretty big seasonal allergen! The plant can be spread either by insects or by the wind, so watch out!
How to Avoid Them
Now that you know a few of the most common seasonal allergens, let us discuss what exactly you should to do help ward away the symptoms and/or completely avoid them all together:
- Pay attention to your local newspaper, radio broadcast, or weather report for pollen and mold counts. This will help you to know whether or not that particular day is best to be out and about.
- Avoid the temptation to crack your doors and windows during allergy season. You do not want that pesky pollen to sneak in!
- Pollen and mold counts are highest in the middle of the day and during the afternoon. Make plans to go out later that night.
- Do not take advantage of Mother Nature’s dryer during allergy season! Dry your clothes inside in your dryer rather than on the line outside.
- Wear a face mask and some protective goggles when outside raking leaves or cutting the grass.
- Shower and wash your hair after being outside for extended periods of time.
Treatments are also available to those who decide to go see an allergist. They can prescribe you certain medications or even allergy shots to help with your symptoms.
Trust me, we get it: allergy season is tough, but you do not have to suffer through it! Whatever it may be that you are allergic to, do not hesitate to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from any increased agony. If you do not think you can follow the tips above, do not hesitate to seek professional medical help. Anything to help you survive this rough allergy season!