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Fall Allergies: It Isn't Over Yet

Most people associate allergy season with the spring and early summer, when the trees, flowers and grasses are first pollinating. However, allergy season can go from spring to fall, almost all year round, depending on what you are allergic to.

The most common trigger of fall allergies is the pollen of the ragweed plant, which pollinates in the fall. Ragweed pollen is easily carried on the wind for long distances. There are other weeds that may pollinate in the fall and contribute to fall allergy symptoms, but ragweed is by far the most common and pesky culprit. Mold spores are also common allergens in the fall. Mold spores may be present in a person’s home, or even in piles of leaves on the ground outside, and they become airborne easily. People with allergies to dust mites can also have problems at the beginning of fall right when they turn on their furnace for the first time to combat the cooler weather. Dust can get trapped in furnace filters and be circulated throughout the house for a couple of days the first time you use your heater.

When these allergens are inhaled and someone is allergic to them, it results in inflammation of the nasal passages, or allergic rhinitis. This can manifest as cold-like symptoms like a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and a sore throat. Pressure from sinus headaches, itchy eyes and nose and coughing can also result. People with asthma can also have their breathing symptoms exacerbated during allergy season because common allergens can trigger spasms in the airways. Asthma attacks are medical emergencies that must be treated right away.

Many people who may have fall allergies may not realize that they do, because fall allergy season is also the beginning of cold and flu season. Doctors can perform skin allergy tests so you know exactly what you are allergic to. If your allergy symptoms are bothering you, there are also medical options available for treatment. Antihistamines and inhaled corticosteroids are two of the most common options for treating seasonal allergies. Decongestant medications can also improve the symptoms of stuffiness caused by fall allergies.

In years with mild, warm winter weather, the spring allergy season tends to come early because the plants are in bloom earlier in the year. Summer and fall allergy seasons also come early following the first allergy season of the year.