Common Fall Allergies

People who suffer from autumn allergies may not have the same appreciation for the end of summer that others do. Fall can be a particularly difficult time for allergy flare-ups depending on location and the type of allergy.

Ragweed pollen is the most common allergy trigger for people in the fall, especially for those who suffer from spring allergies as well. Ragweeds start releasing pollen in late August when the days are still warm but the nights have begun to cool, continuing through to October. It’s easily carried far distances by the wind, and people with this allergy may also notice they have bad reactions to bananas, zucchini, and melons, which can cause itching and swelling in the mouth.

Mold is another typical fall allergy offender. It thrives in damp, cool places, which means that as the weather cools it can occur both indoors and out: many people find it in their bathrooms or basements, but it can also grow in places like damp leaf piles, compost, or the soil in shaded outdoor areas. You can help manage indoor mold by ventilating bathrooms after a shower and keeping carpet dry and warm with a dehumidifier, but the only thing that will effectively kill outdoor mold is frost or snow.

Dust mites – little creatures that feed on dust particles – don’t just appear in the fall (they like the humidity of summer, for example), they can become a problem in the fall, when the air is circulated by the heater. Cleaning the vents and changing the filters before you turn on the heater for the first time can help cut down on both dust mites and mold.

Other kinds of weeds and grasses that bloom in the late summer and throughout fall can also be responsible for allergic reactions. Sheep sorrel, goldenrod, and sagebrush can all trigger allergies in various parts of the U.S. Here’s a tip: few people are affected by a goldenrod allergy, but since it blooms at the same time as ragweed, its flowers can be used as a sign for people with ragweed allergies to watch out.


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