Fall-Allergies-787px-w

Light ENT of Boynton Beach is here to help reduce your misery

Isn’t it always the way? You struggle to get through one allergy season, and another is just around the corner. Even fall in South Florida, while the temperatures rarely dip into the jacket-wearing category, still equates to fewer lawns mowed, more pumpkin spice latte, and yes, fall allergies.

The most a subtle change in seasons can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. Much like spring, fall is a time when folks are desperately seeking relief from their seasonal allergies, with symptoms that include:

  • Red and watery eyes with swelling
  • Itchy nose, eyes, ears, mouth, and throat
  • Stuffy/runny nose with nasal congestion and mucus
  • Sneezing and headaches
  • Rashes and hives on the skin

The team at Light ENT wants you to spend the rest of autumn and into winter conquering your fall allergies, not being a victim to them. That is why we are offering the following tips on how to prevent and treat these seasonal allergies and let you focus on closing out the year!

Why do allergies get worse in the fall anyway?

One reason is weed pollen. In addition to ragweed and sagebrush, weed pollen is the primary cause of allergic rhinitis (aka hay fever), and affects 10-20% of Americans.

Ragweed is difficult to escape in the U.S. It grows in 49 states with 17 different types and pollen so light, it can travel for hundreds of miles in the air. Often, ragweed season starts around July and August, and peaks in mid-September. But the temperate climate in Florida means we are one of the lucky states to deal with it well into November or longer.

Ragweed is not the only type of plant that causes fall allergy symptoms. Other types of weed that cause symptoms to flare include:

  • Tumbleweed
  • Sagebrush
  • Burning bush
  • Cocklebur
  • Russian thistle
  • Pigweed
  • Lamb’s-quarters
  • and Mugwart

How do people treat or protect themselves against weed pollen allergies?

It seems simple, but if you spend time outside, you should leave your shoes by the door, change out of your clothes, and wash them when you come in after. And shower and shampoo every night also.

It may be tempting to open your home up and let the cool fall air in, but that lets pollen in as well. Try to keep your windows and door closed if possible.

If you can rely on a central air conditioning system, be sure to use air filters that are certified asthma and allergy friendly and change them per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Mold: The other chief fall allergen culprit

The fall landscape tends to encourage mold growth, with leaves falling and wood decaying. While dry and breezy fall weather can spread mold spores in the air, warm and humid weather (like in Florida) can encourage mold growth as well.

How to deal with a mold allergy

  • Wear sunglass and a hat when outside
  • Clean up falling leaves and yard debris as soon as you can to avoid giving mold a place to thrive (Have someone without a mold allergy do it, if it is going to impact your health)

Are these allergies getting worse?

Yes. Consider how much fall is beginning to feel like summer. Climate change appears to be responsible for longer, warmer growing fall seasons, which gives plants more time to grow and produce more pollen. Most major U.S. cities have seen an increase in fall temperatures, and more carbon dioxide emissions equates to more potent pollen.

Any additional tips?

There are a number of ways you can take action against seasonal allergies. You can be proactive by:

  • Checking pollen levels each day before heading outside (There are sites such as the National Allergy Bureau for pollen and mold counts. Plan your activities for when counts are lower. Or, if they remain high, take an antihistamine as directed)
  • Consider purchasing a dehumidifier to disseminate any pollen that enters your home
  • Clear out your nasal passages with a nasal irrigation
  • Stay hydrated
  • And talk to your allergist about allergy treatments if/when conditions don’t improve

If you continue to suffer from these or other allergy symptoms, be sure to contact us at our convenient Boynton Beach office for an appointment. Light ENT is here to relieve your allergy burden with the very latest treatments available today.