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Help for Fall Allergies

Updated on October 21, 2012
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Fall allergies can make you absolutely miserable. Allergy sufferers know too well the symptoms, the endless runny nose, sneezing fits, itchy watery eyes and scratchy throat. Change of seasons bring misery to millions of people each year.

Ragweed is a common fall allergen. It starts showing up in the atmosphere at the end of August and can linger through October. Ragweed pollen is spread by the wind and is concentrated in the air in greater quantities in the early morning and after it rains. If you exercise in the early morning, during ragweed season, consider working out later in the day to reduce exposure.

Another common fall allergen is mold spores, as the leaves fall from the trees and compact and decay, mold is produced in abundance. You may not be able to avoid mold spores altogether, but you can reduce your exposure by raking up fallen leaves around your home. Wear a face mask to avoid inhaling particles.

As the temperature outside drops we start spending more time indoors. Windows are closed and the heat on for several weeks. We love to be in a warm, cozy home but we may not know that we are also creating the perfect conditions for dust mites. Many allergy sufferers are allergic to dust mites, unfortunately, these little creatures can be found just about everywhere there are fabric fibers, in carpeting, upholstery, mattresses, pillows and even stuffed animals.

You can help lessen the amount of dust mites in your home many ways: purchase allergen-proof covers for your mattresses and pillows, reduce the number of rooms with wall-to-wall carpeting in your home (use area rugs that can be washed instead), when it is time to purchase upholstered furniture, consider leather furniture instead. Frequent cleaning of surfaces and dusting using a micro-fiber or lint trapping cloth reduce the dust from going back up into the air. Air filters and vacuums that include a HEPA filter will help clear and reduce dust mites and other allergens in the air of your home.

Most allergies develop in childhood, but an allergy can develop at any time. Many people assume a sudden onset of symptoms is asthma, but allergy and asthma have different symptoms.

Is it an Allergy or is it Asthma?

An allergic reaction is when our immune system jumps into overdrive because an outside substance has entered and irritated our body. People can be allergic to all kinds of things, dust, mold, animal dander, latex, rubber, insects and certain foods.

An asthmatic reaction is triggered by something that occurs naturally in the body, for example, exercise, stress or dry, cold air. Asthma symptoms are limited to the lungs. The air passages become inflamed causing the airways to narrow which leaves the sufferer gasping for breath. Asthma suffers wheeze and cough but asthma does not make you sneeze.

Allergic reactions can affect the lungs too, but it is the additional symptoms that separate it from asthma. The most common reactions, for example, a runny nose, itchy eyes or skin, congestion, and sneezing. Food allergies may cause changes in digestion, swelling of the mouth, tongue or throat. Sometimes allergies have an effect on skin, a person may break out in a rash or hives.

If you have suddenly developed symptoms and are not sure whether it is asthma or an allergy you should see your doctor or an allergist. There are many treatments available that can help lessen the misery and help you manage the symptoms. There is no need to suffer through allergy season.

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    • naturman profile image

      Michael Roberts 4 years ago from UK

      My son is always suffering from a runny nose and a cough, he has had all types of anti-histamine but none seem to work.

    • MaryMasters profile image
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      MaryMasters 4 years ago from New York City

      When symptoms last well beyond allergy season a doctor should be seen to make sure it is not something more serious. Anti-histamines can help relieve some of the symptoms of allergies, but they can't clear all of them. You may want to consider taking your son to an allergist, he may recommend a decongestant along with a different anti-histamine. Sometimes a prolonged allergic reaction can stay stuck in an "on" position, even when the allergen is no longer around, if this is the case your doctor may prescribe a short-term dose of steroids to calm the immune system response. I hope you are able to find relief for your son.

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