Spring and summer allergy season is drawing to a close, but that doesn't mean that there will be no more allergies until next year. What should allergy sufferers who are just entering their prime sneezing season be doing to prepare?
This problem is especially annoying for kids heading back to school. They may have been able to stay at home and inside during the summer, but during the school year, they'll get behind if they stay home with allergies. On the other hand, going to school with allergies is distracting for classmates and frustrating for the allergy-sufferer.
Some of the allergens that are around in spring and summer are still around in the fall. Ragweed is a big one, and it starts pollinating in August and goes into fall, and the pollen can travel hundreds of miles and trigger the allergies of people who live far away from it. However, leftover summer allergens aren't the only things there for the fall allergy sufferer. Mold is often an issue for allergy sufferers, and the piles of damp leaves creating little pockets of it is the perfect way to drive a mold-allergy person crazy. Dust mites, which seem like they would leave after summer humidity, sometimes get into the air when you turn on the furnace forthe first time after the summer.
School kids get to cope with the mold of a school that's been vacant all summer (and the accompanying dust mites of the same situation), chalk dust and school lunch, and you have a recipe for hacking and wheezing all the way through to December.
Coping with fall allergies is similar to coping in other seasons - antihistamines, decongestants and allergy shots are all good options. However, you can also try the following to minimize allergic attacks:
- Peak time for pollen is between 10 am and 3 pm. Avoid being outside during those hours as much as possible.
- Clean your ducts (or have them cleaned) before you turn your heater on for the first time in the fall. This will help to prevent allergic attacks from colonies of dust mites down the ducts.
- If you need to rake leaves, wear a mask. Raking is a great way to kick up mold spores, which can trigger allergic attacks.
- Use a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter to keep your air clean.