The fall season is often associated with tree leaves turning colors, orange pumpkins, and rainy, cool weather. However, it’s also a time of the year when ragweed takes its toll on allergy sufferers. Allergens such as mold and dust can also contribute to a person’s suffering. But Ragweed is usually the chief culprit due to its high concentration of pollen.
If you suffer from fall allergies, you’re not alone. According to the experts, you are one of thirty-six million Americans who have this health. Severe fall allergies often cause children to miss school, and adults to miss days at their jobs.
Hayfever, specifically, which is an allergic reaction to Ragweed, is the fifth leading chronic medical condition in this country.
The Symptoms and Commonly Prescribed Combatants
The symptoms of fall allergies include nasal congestion and inflammation, sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, and a runny or stuffed up nose. Sufferers can also experience low grade fevers and a general feeling of “blahness.” There are several prescription drugs, as well as over-the-counter medications, that you can take to combat these symptoms. These drugs are mainly antihistamines and decongestants. Unfortunately, the side effects of antihistamines can include drowsiness, dry mouth, upset stomach, a dangerous rise in blood pressure, and more. Decongestants also can cause drowsiness and other unwanted side effects as well. Often, packages of antihistamines and decongestants contain warnings not to drive automobiles or operate heavy machinery while you’re taking them! It can be rather difficult to drive back and forth to your job, pick your kids up from school, get your other errands done, and live a normal life if you’re sleepy all the time!
The Best Cure is Avoidance
Therefore, the best way to battle fall allergies…and win!… is to avoid the allergy-causing irritants as much as possible. If you stay indoors as much as possible- especially on the days when the mold or pollen count is high- you’ll drastically limit your contact with pollen. Of course, you will need to close all of the windows and the doors of your home. And if you purchase a filtering system, the air inside your home will be fresh, odorless, and completely free from pollen, mold, dust, and other allergens. Portable air cleaners are inexpensive. They are available at many department stores, drug stores, and even at home supply centers. Just remember to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions in order to achieve the best results. You’ll need to periodically remove and clean the filters so the unit can work at its peak efficiency.
While a filtering system will clean the air inside your home, you should also ban tobacco smoking. Tobacco smoke is full of irritants and chemicals that can irritate congested nasal passages, watery eyes, and a runny or stuffed up nose.
Your Vacuum Cleaner Should Help to Clean the Air
If you don’t already own one, you should replace your current vacuum cleaner with one that uses a special HEPA filter. HEPA filters are specially designed to eliminate irritants such as dust, mold, even pollen in your home too. Just remember to change the bag often so the vacuum can work effectively. Or, you can purchase a vacuum that uses water instead of paper bags in order to trap dust mites, pollen, and mold spores from re-entering the air in your home.
Vacuum not only the carpeted floors in your home, but also your cloth furniture and draperies.
Don’t forget to vacuum your bed mattress too. These places tend to collect pollen, dust mites, and other allergens.
Dealing With Pollen While Outside Your Home
If you have to spend time outside your home, you should know that the “peak pollen periods” are between ten in the morning and four in the afternoon. Therefore, scheduling activities before or after this time can reduce your exposure to this allergen.
You can also wear a handkerchief or an air mask over your nose and mouth to help keep you from breathing in the harmful allergens. Especially if you plan to rake leaves, work in a flower bed, or mow your lawn.
And, be sure to take a shower after you finish your outside work. This will remove any allergens that can irritate your immune system.
If you suffer from fall allergies, take heart. The trees and flowers that produce pollen cease this activity after the first hard frost. After this happens, you can spend more time outside without having to worry as much.