Three Respiratory Triggers to Look Out for this Fall

The air is getting crisp and leaves are falling. Unfortunately, this means a new wave of allergic triggers which may cause itchy eyes, runny nose, and other irritating symptoms are starting to arise. These pesky little triggers can make you miserable – especially if you've been battling them since spring. When you add seasonal colds and flus into the mix, it may seem like relief is impossible. That's why we spoke to Allergy Insider for some tips on how to manage some of the most common fall allergy triggers.

1. Pollen

It's no surprise that pollen may be to blame for your incessant sneezing or itchy eyes, but it's important to remember that it may no longer be the tree pollen causing your symptoms. During colder months, ragweed pollen becomes of the star of the show.

If you suffer from pollen allergies during the springtime, there's a 75% chance that you may also have a reaction to ragweed.1 So what can you do about this? Well, one tip that most people never consider is taking the time to be sure that they aren't tracking pollen inside.

Because allergic triggers "stack" – eventually causing symptoms in large amounts – reducing triggers where you can may make a big difference, especially at home. If you've been outside all day or have a furry friend that's been rolling around in the park, take a moment to wipe them and yourself down when you get home. You can use a damp cloth or a lint roller. Then, it may be best to change into a fresh pair of clothes and rinse off in the shower to get rid of any pollen that may have stuck to your skin or hair.

2. Mold

When you think of mold, you may have an image of a green and fuzzy piece of bread or a discolored spot in the shower or under the sink, but few consider the mold that comes from damp leaves that pile up in the fall.

These piles of leaves make the perfect home for mildew and mold to grow. If you're spending the day doing yard work or raking, you may be unintentionally exposing yourself to mold allergens. But before you hire a landscaper or one of the neighborhood kids to help pile-up leaves, it's important to be sure that you're reacting to outdoor mold, otherwise there may be another trigger hiding in your midst.

Knowing more about your allergies is an important step in staying symptom free this fall. Be sure to get allergy blood tested and speak to your healthcare provider about what you can do to reduce symptoms. Who knows, it may be the ragweed unexpectedly growing in the corner of your yard causing your symptoms.

3. Cold and Flu

While you can't really be "allergic" to colds or flus, being sick may worsen your symptoms. If you thought having congestion from allergies was bad, imagine having added congestion from a cold, flu or COVID-19.

For those with allergic asthma, it becomes even more important to avoid getting sick. If you have allergic asthma and are sensitized and exposed to an allergic trigger and then suffer from a viral infection, there is nearly a 20-fold increase in your chances of being hospitalized.2

Because of this, controlling your allergy symptoms during the fall is vital. Again, getting allergy blood tested and working with your healthcare provider to create a plan to reduce exposure to your triggers is a great way to stay safe this fall.

Whether it's in the spring or in the fall, taking charge and feeling empowered to control your allergy symptoms starts with getting tested and learning more about your allergies and symptoms. Visit Allergy Insider to learn more about allergy testing options and allergy symptoms.

References
  • Watson, S. (n.d.). Fall allergies. WebMD. Retrieved September 19, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/allergies/fall-allergy-relief
  • Murray, et al. Thorax 2006;61:376–382. doi: 10.1136/thx.2005.042523
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