How to Deal with Allergies in the Fall
Trees are done pollinating by late spring, so what causes fall allergies? Ragweed peaks during the season, producing up to 1 billion pollen grains per plant! Your immune system may react by releasing the chemical histamine, which can cause the unpleasant sneezing, runny nose and more. Here’s how to help ease symptoms:
- See an allergist: Allergists can review your medical history, perform a physical exam and skin tests for allergies, analyze your symptoms, and decide on a treatment plan. So don't hesitate to call when you start showing signs of allergy symptoms. They may recommend medications like antihistamines, which block the chemicals the body releases in response to pollen.
- Limit allergen exposure: Stay indoors, especially on dry, windy days when pollen counts are high. Keep windows closed and turn on the air conditioner. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter attachment can help remove pollen from the air and help you breathe easier.
- Rinse your sinuses: Nasal irrigation — rinsing your sinuses to remove mucus and allergens from your nose — is a way to help ease congestion. Specially-designed squeeze bottles or neti pots and pre-mixed saline solutions are available at pharmacies or health food stores.
- Try over-the-counter allergy medications: Many antihistamines — which can come in liquid, pill and eye drop form — are available without a prescription. They work to block histamine and relieve itchy nose and throat, sneezing, runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes. Decongestants can help relieve congestion.
- Consider allergy immunotherapy or allergy shots: Each shot contains a tiny amount of the allergen and, over time, gradually helps decrease sensitivity.
- Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) allergy tablets: If you have severe allergies, talk to your doctor about a recently approved treatment for allergic rhinitis, SLIT.