If you’re one of the more than 100 million people in the United States who suffer from allergies, your symptoms may change from season to season. Knowing what fall allergies are the most common and what you can do to address them can help you feel better throughout autumn.
Understanding what allergies are is an important first step in dealing with them. When you’re allergic to something, your body mistakes a protein from it, called an allergen, for a threat. If you come in contact with the allergen, your immune system begins to defend your body the same way it would if you were exposed to a bacteria or virus. As a part of the immune response, your body releases a chemical called histamine, which causes inflammation and the symptoms of allergies.
There are two main types of fall allergies that seniors need to be aware of: outdoor and indoor. Let’s take a look at each.
Across the United States, ragweed is the most common cause of outdoor allergies during fall. Although this weed is most common along the East Coast and in the Midwest, several species grow in Arizona and are a cause for concern in the Sun City, AZ, area. In late summer and early fall, ragweed plants release pollen, which gets carried on the wind. If you’re allergic to ragweed, you may experience symptoms if you breathe in the pollen.
Other plants found in Arizona also release pollen just before or during fall and can trigger allergy symptoms in some people. They include:
Fall marks the end of outdoor summer activities, and many people begin spending more time indoors when the season arrives. As a result, they’re more likely to be affected by common indoor allergens, which include:
Certain factors can worsen outdoor allergies:
Outdoor and indoor allergies cause similar symptoms, including:
Although there's no cure for allergies, there are things you can do to manage symptoms during fall and beyond. Follow these tips to address autumn allergies.
As previously explained, pollen levels differ from day to day due to weather and wind conditions, and the timing of plant life cycles also impacts them. Pollen reports can help you assess your likelihood of experiencing allergy symptoms on a given day.
Typically, weather people on local news and radio stations provide pollen counts during the forecast. You can also find pollen reports on weather mobile apps and on websites like AccuWeather and The Weather Channel. If you have outdoor allergies, keep your windows closed and avoid going outside for long periods of time when pollen counts are high.
For most people, it won’t be possible to spend all of fall indoors to avoid allergies. Fortunately, you can decrease your risk of symptoms by planning your outdoor time carefully. Try to schedule outdoor activities for the afternoon and evening.
When you do go out, consider wearing a face mask to limit how much pollen you breathe in. Upon returning home, take off your clothing immediately and bathe or shower as soon as possible to wash any lingering pollen off your skin.
Taking steps to improve your indoor air quality may help reduce allergy symptoms.
Antihistamine medications relieve allergy symptoms by interfering with the actions of histamine. There are two main types of oral antihistamines:
There are also antihistamine nasal sprays and eye drops available for relieving allergy symptoms. Although you can purchase antihistamines over the counter, check with your health care provider before using one for the first time.
Finding out what you’re allergic to can help you avoid triggers. Talk to your health care provider about allergy testing and additional treatments like allergy shots and prescription medications. If you’re a resident of Sun Valley Lodge senior living community, you can schedule free transportation to and from your appointment for added convenience.