Coughing, sneezing and wheezing — ahh, the sounds of allergy season! While some Americans do not experience seasonal allergies, for the 50 million Americans that do, allergy seasons can be especially tough to get through during peak times.
In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control, allergies are the 6th leading cause for chronic illness in the U.S., costing in excess of $18 billion per year to treat. To help cope with fall allergies in particular, we’ve compiled a list of common allergy triggers and tips to dealing with them.
Fall Allergy Triggers
Ragweed is the leading culprit for fall allergy triggers. Ragweed starts the pollination process during August, but its pollen can continue to spread through October, especially with lingering warm weather. Nearly 75% of all spring allergy sufferers will react to ragweed in the fall.
We all know mold can grow in wet, damp spaces in our houses like bathrooms and basements, but mold spores love damp places just about anywhere. A pile of freshly raked fall leaves, for example, would be the perfect breeding ground for mold.
Dust mites can be common in a person’s house and nearly everywhere else — according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, dust mites are found on every continent except Antarctica. Nonetheless, dust mites are still a major allergy trigger. Things like turning on your heating system for the first time can kick up dust mites and circulate them throughout your house.
5 Tips for Dealing with Fall Allergies
- If your area is still warm, continue using air conditioning until pollen counts have dropped. Opening window and doors for cooling will increase the amount of allergens able to enter your home. To check your local pollen counts, click here.
- To avoid spreading dust mites and other allergens, clean out your heating system before turning it on for the first time. Getting your ducts professionally cleaned, wiping down vents or other air registers and changing filters will put your heating system in great shape for the winter.
- Fight mold by reducing the amount of humidity in your home. You can do this by purchasing the appropriate dehumidifier for your space — keep your humidity level between 35-50% for best results.
- Wear a mask if you are planning to rake leaves. A mask will act as a barrier between yourself and any allergens you may release while raking.
- If you are able to choose the filter for your heating system, choose a HEPA filter. These filters are designed to help remove pollen, mold and other particles from the air.
Follow these easy steps and you will be on track for a better allergy season!