Fall isn’t quite here, but allergy seasons don’t exactly follow the calendars. Beginning in late summer in Kentucky and Indiana, those with mold and ragweed allergies can start to react to the increasing pollen counts. You might not be feeling your allergies yet, however, before allergy season goes into full swing you’ll want to start preparing. Now is a good time to start taking your allergy medications even if you don’t have any symptoms.
You might not think to use allergy medication until after your symptoms begin appearing, however, pre-treatment can be helpful. By taking medication before the pollen is overwhelming, you can prevent inflammation that causes your symptoms. You’ll be helping your body prepare instead of launching a defense after the first strike has occurred.
What to watch out for?
The main allergy culprit during the fall is ragweed, however, mold and dust mites are also common triggers. Ragweed is a weed that produces very fine pollen that generally grows from August through November. While it mainly grows in the Midwest and Eastern parts of the country, it is light pollen that can travel far when carried by the wind. Pollen counts for ragweed tend to be highest in mid-September, and those allergic should avoid being outside during mid-day when the counts peak.
Mold can grow in damp areas in the house, whether it’s the basement, garage, or bathroom. It’s important to make sure these areas are cleaned correctly and controlled with environmental control products to keep mold away. When leaves begin to fall later in the season, they can compost, keeping mold around into well into October.
Seasonal allergies, also called Allergic Rhinitis or Hayfever, show many symptoms of a cold but without a fever (despite the name). Symptoms range from a stuffy or a runny nose and sneezing, to itchy eyes or throat. Those allergic to ragweed can experience itching on their lips, tongue or mouth after eating foods like bananas, melons, and zucchini due to cross-reactivity. This Oral Allergy Syndrome occurs when the immune system reacts to the proteins in certain foods because they are similar to the proteins in pollens.
What can you do?
Control the indoor environment:
- Keep windows closed in the late summer and fall to prevent the outside from coming inside.
- Use HEPA filters in air conditioners or furnaces to keep inside air clean. Use a dehumidifier to control the humidity in damp basements that cause mold.
- Clean mold with a bleach solution, or use a professional cleaner to take care of the mold.
Prepare when outside:
- Keep an eye on pollen counts to prepare for the day. Check pollen counts on our website.
- Shower after being outside, wash your hair to remove pollen.
- Wear a NIOSH N95 mask while outside raking leaves or mowing the grass.
Treat your allergies:
- The first step is to get allergy tested to identify what allergens are causing your symptoms.
- Use medication to control symptoms and get relief sooner.
- If recommended, start immunotherapy to start desensitizing your body to bothersome allergens.