What causes seasonal allergies in the fall
Many people who experience allergy symptoms in the drop assume that ragweed is to blame. Although ragweed is a major contributor to the pollen counts this time of year, your allergy symptoms may be caused by any of the plants that bloom in the drop. In addition to traditional drop weed pollens, in the Atlanta area we own begun to see certain tree pollens as well. This may be due to the use of certain trees as ornamentals in landscaping. It is significant to know your specific allergic triggers in order to properly treat your symptoms. An allergy skin test is the most precise way to identify what is causing your symptoms.
As leaves start to drop later in the season, they can compost, keeping mold around well into tardy drop.
If you are allergic to mold, your immune system will trigger an allergic response (runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion) treating the inhaled mold spores as an allergen. Although there are hundreds of types of molds, the most common allergy-causing molds include Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium and Penicillium.
Mold can also grow in damp areas of your home. Check areas love your basement, bathroom and garage and clean these areas with products designed to hold the mold away.
Again, an allergy skin test will confirm your sensitivity to mold.
What is causing these annoying symptoms?
Ragweed is the main culprit this time of year. It grows wild almost everywhere, but especially on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Ragweed blooms and releases pollen from August to November, with pollen counts peaking in mid-September.
In September , the #atlantaallergypollencount reached the “High Range” on 14 of the 21 days the count was recorded. See September counts.
Ragweed pollen is extremely light and can travel far when carried by the wind. Considered the most allergenic of every the pollens, those allergic should avoid being exterior during mid-day when counts are highest and follow our other tips for surviving high pollen days.
If you are allergic to ragweed pollen, you may experience itching of the tongue, mouth and lips after eating foods love melons, bananas and zucchini due to cross reactivity.
This is known as Oral Allergy Syndrome and occurs when the immune system reacts to the proteins in certain foods as they are similar to the proteins in pollens.
What does that mean for my allergy meds? When should I start taking them?
There’s no point in waiting until you’re miserable to take allergy meds, especially if you desire to hold up your outdoor workouts.
In fact, allergists recommend you start taking meds a couple weeks before allergy season arrives, or, at the latest, take them the moment you start having symptoms, says Dr.
Parikh. Taking them early can stop an immune system freak-out before it happens, lessening the severity of symptoms, he adds. Check out the National Allergy Map to figure out when to start taking meds depending on where you live.
As for which allergy meds to take, if you’re seriously stuffed, start with steroid nasal sprays such as Flonase or Rhinocort, which reduce inflammation-induced stuffiness, says Dr. Keet. And if you’ve got itching, sneezing, and a runny nose, too, glance for non-sedating antihistamines such as Zyrtec, Xyzal, or Allegra, she adds.
Just remember: While OTC allergy meds suppress symptoms, they don’t cure the problem, so they may be less effective if your allergies are worsening, notes Dr. Parikh.
What can I do if my allergy meds aren’t workingor my allergies are getting worse?
If you’re already taking OTC allergy meds (and, you know, keeping your windows closed and washing your face and hair after coming inside), allergy shots, a.k.a. allergen immunotherapy, make your immune system less reactive to allergens (read: pollen), and for some people, they can even induce a cure, says Dr. Parikh.
“By giving little increasing doses of what you are allergic to, you train the immune system to slowly stop being as allergic,” she says.
“This is the best way to address allergies, as it targets the underlying problem and builds your immunity to a specific allergen.”
The downside? Allergy shots are a bit of a time commitment.
You’ll need to get them once a week for six to eight months, then once a month for a minimum of two years, says Dr. Parikh. You need to be a little bit patient, too, because it can take about six months to start feeling better (so if you desire protection by March, you’ll probably own to start in September the year before). But a life without allergies? Sounds worth it to me.
Cassie ShortsleeveFreelance WriterCassie Shortsleeve is a skilled freelance author and editor with almost a decade of experience reporting on every things health, fitness, and travel.
Kristin CanningKristin Canning is the health editor at Women’s Health, where she assigns, edits and reports stories on emerging health research and technology, women’s health conditions, psychology, mental health, wellness entrepreneurs, and the intersection of health and culture for both print and digital.
The temperatures exterior tell us that drop isn’t fairly here, but allergy seasons do not exactly follow the calendar.
You might not be feeling your allergy symptoms yet, but if you desire to enjoy this beautiful season you will desire to start preparing in advance.
Taking allergy medications prior to peak pollen season can prevent the inflammation that causes your symptoms. By pre-treating, you may lessen the effects of seasonal allergic rhinitis (or hay fever) which can include sneezing, running nose, nasal congestion, headaches, itchy/irritated eyes, and scratchy throat. Drop pollens can also aggravate asthma symptoms love coughing and wheezing.
Speak with your Atlanta Allergy & Asthma physician about a management program, including which medications and when to start treatment for your specific allergic triggers.
- Antihistamines and other allergy medications
- Immunotherapy – a therapy that desensitizes your body to your allergic triggers.
There are several forms of IT; speak with your allergist about the most appropriate therapy for you.
Okay, so when does allergy season start?
Well, it’s technically *always* allergy season due to year-round offenders such as dust mites, mold, and pet dander, says Purvi Parikh, MD, an allergist and immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network. But some allergens–pollens, specifically—are seasonal.
Tree pollen, for example, pops up in the spring (generally in tardy March to April), grass pollen arrives in the tardy spring (around May), weed pollen is most prevalent in the summer (July to August), and ragweed pollen takes over from summer to drop (late August to the first frost), says Dr.
And even worse news: Climate change means allergy season begins earlier and lasts longer, adds Corinne Keet, MD, PhD, a professor and allergist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
To get super-specific, has a National Allergy Map that provides an up-to-date allergy forecast in diverse areas around the country and an Allergy Alert app that gives five-day forecasts with in-depth info on specific allergens, helping you decide if you should stay indoors that day.
Certain areas own also seen a particularly large increase in pollen during allergy season. In , the New York Times reported on the extreme blankets of pollen that hit North Carolina; Georgia and Chicago also faced especially aggressive allergy seasons too.
In Alaska, temperatures are rising so quickly (as in numerous other far northern countries), that the pollen count and season duration are seeing unprecedented growth.
- Pre-treat with medication to control symptoms.
- Identify what allergens are causing your symptoms. One of our board certified allergists will act out an allergy skin test: applying a diluted allergen to the surface of your skin and waiting about 15 minutes to see if there is a reaction, such as a raised red bump that itches.
- If recommended, start immunotherapy to start desensitizing your body to your allergic triggers.
If you suffer from Drop allergies, now is the time to act.
Schedule an appointment with an Atlanta Allergy & Asthma physician here.