4 Steps to Avoid Ragweed Allergies This Fall
How to Prevent Autumn Allergies
Fall has arrived bringing with it not only delicious pumpkin flavoured treats, but also allergies. Many people suffer from pollen allergies that often flare up in the fall season. Allergens such as ragweed and outdoor molds can result in runny noses, sneezing and watery eyes for many fall allergy sufferers. The best way to prevent autumn allergies throughout the season is to minimize your exposure to known allergens.
Minimizing Exposure While Outside
Wear a mask.Pollen, such as ragweed, which blooms in late August and lasts until the first frost, is a common fall allergen. Wearing a mask, although not 100% effective can significantly reduce your pollen exposure when working outside. It is recommended that you wear a surgical-style face mask while outside during the autumn allergy season.
- You can buy an appropriate face mask at a local drugstore.
- It is recommended that you look for a mask with an “N95” rating from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
Monitor pollen counts.Most weather stations and websites will report on pollen counts during the fall allergy season. On days when the pollen count is particularly high you should avoid heading outdoors. You can also stay inside during certain times of the day. For instance, pollen counts are typically highest in the late morning and early afternoon. This will help to minimize your exposure to allergens. Warm, dry, and windy days are the worst for those who suffer from ragweed allergies.
- For example, weather.com is a great site that includes an allergy tracker. Just type in your location and click on the allergy tracker located in the health section.
Remove wet leaves from your yard.During the fall season, in some parts of the world, trees will lose their leaves. Wet leaves act as a perfect breeding ground for mold, a common allergen. If you suffer from a mold allergy have someone else in your household remove fallen leaves from your yard.
Avoid ragweed.An allergy to ragweed, known as hay fever, is one of the most common fall allergies. Make sure that you do not have any ragweed in your own yard and minimize your contact with the plant while it is pollinating, from late August through to the first frost.
- Plant cover crops such as clover or buckwheat to help prevent ragweed from taking root in your yard.
Keeping Your Home Clear of Allergy Triggers
Close windows and use the air conditioner.During the fall allergy season keep your windows closed in order to prevent unwanted ragweed pollen from entering your home. August and September can often be fairly warm months so it is best to use your air conditioner to beat the heat. Air conditioning can also help reduce humidity in your home which will prevent mold from developing inside which can often aggravate allergy symptoms.
- It is also recommended that you keep your car windows closed and use the air conditioner while driving.
Replace AC and furnace filters regularly.AC and furnace filters help to limit the number of airborne pollutants, such as dust and pollen. These filters, over time, can become blocked by particles making them less efficient. By replacing your air filter regularly you can help ensure that allergens are being removed from the air in your home.
- High efficiency filters are recommended as the best type of filter to help with air quality.
Wash your body and clothes.Once you have been exposed to allergens it is a good idea to immediately wash your hands, face, and clothes after coming inside. If you were outside for a long time you may want to shower and change into new clothes.
Keep your pets inside.Pets can often carry pollens and other allergens into the house. Pollen will cling onto the hair and enter your home undetected. By keeping your pets inside during allergy season, or minimizing their time outdoors, you can help to limit the amount of pollen that enters your home.
- Keep pets off the furniture and out of your bedroom to ensure they don't track ragweed pollen into the areas you use most in the home.
Managing Allergy Symptoms
Rinse out your nose.Flushing out your nasal passage can help to remove pollen and other allergens and reduce irritation. Use a saline solution and a neti-pot or over-the-counter rinsing device to help eliminate allergens and congestion from your nasal passage.
- A neti-pot can be purchased at your local drug store.
Take nonprescription antihistamines.Even if you have done your best to avoid fall allergens such as ragweed and mold you may still develop some allergy symptoms. Nonprescription antihistamines, such as Claritin, work to block substances called histamines which are produced in your body when an allergic reaction occurs.When untreated histamines can cause a stuffy, itchy, and/or runny nose, runny, itching eyes, itching in the mouth, and hives.
- It is best to begin taking antihistamines before symptoms occur. If you know that you suffer from fall allergies be preemptive.
Try taking a decongestant.If your allergies result in sneezing and a runny nose a decongestant, such as Sudafed, can help manage the symptoms and reduce congestion.
- Nasal sprays, like Flonase and Nasonex, can also help relieve nasal congestion.
Talk with your doctor.Your doctor may be able to help you identify your specific allergy triggers, through tracking the times when symptoms are the worst or performing an allergy test at his office. This will help you identify your specific allergy so that you can create a more specific prevention plan.
Consider an allergy shot.If you have extremely bad seasonal allergies you may want to ask your doctor about getting allergy shots. This treatment method works by exposing your body to specific substances that cause allergies by getting regular injections. Over time, through exposure, you should reduce your allergic response, which will reduce your symptoms, as well.
Video: Tips for Taming Fall Allergies (HD)
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