Autumn Allergies in America: Your Plan of Attack
August 6, 2019
Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD
Autumn allergies in America are no joke. Unless you live in the far north, this season can wreak havoc on your sinuses and make going outside nearly impossible. But have you ever wondered, “Why are my allergies worse in autumn?” Or caught yourself wishing you knew why allergens are high in the fall?
To answer these questions — and to learn how to prevail against autumn allergies — we must take a look at what could be causing allergies at this time of year. With this information under your belt, you’ll be prepared to take on fall allergies in Houston and across the country, too.
1. Beat ragweed pollen, aka public enemy #1
Pollen is one of the five most common allergies and, according to America According to the American College of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology, nearly 23 million people in America suffer from a ragweed pollen allergy.
Ragweed begins growing in mid-August and continues to flourish until the first frost. Each plant releases up to one billion spores. Even though these plants tend to grow in rural areas, ragweed spores can travel quite far.
It’s nearly impossible to avoid ragweed pollen altogether, but there’s still a lot of preventative measures you can take (outside of medication and allergy shots). To limit your exposure to ragweed:
- Keep all of your home and car windows shut.
- If you’ve been outside for a while, change your clothes. Pollen can easily cling to fabric.
- Consider showering after you’ve spent time outside, and always shower before bed.
- If your pup or cat spends most of its time outdoors, make sure to wash your hands after petting them.
- When and where possible, move outdoor activities inside.
2. Tell mold to make itself scarce
With more moisture in the air, fall is a great time for mold to grow, and a not-so-great time for those allergic to mold. To limit your exposure to mold inside your home.
- Check areas with excess moisture (basements, attics, bathrooms, and kitchens) and clean any existing mold spots.
- Run the vents in your bathroom after you shower.
- If you can, monitor and reduce your home’s humidity levels.
Another trick to avoid mold allergies is to know where mold might be growing outside. During the fall season, mold grows under leaves (especially piles of leaves) and stacks of wood. If you plan on raking or cleaning out your gutters, make sure to wear a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask.
If you notice mold growing on the outside of your home, you may benefit from renting a power washer and having the mold removed.
3. Keep an eye on the clock (and the pollen count)
Let’s be honest, spending a few cozy days indoors isn’t so bad, but nobody wants to stay cooped up all day, every day. Luckily, there are times of day in which the pollen count is generally lower — very, very early in the morning and dusk. However, note that morning and mid-morning are when the pollen count is typically at its highest, so if you plan on going on a morning jog, you’ll want to get out of the door early.
Non-windy days are better for allergy sufferers. Humid and rainy days may also provide relief for those suffering from pollen allergies, as rain weighs down the pollen, but can be harder on those with mold allergies.
If all this checking the weather makes wears you out, one of the best ways to monitor the allergy situation is to check your city’s pollen count. However, reading and translating a city’s pollen count isn’t always straightforward, so we created a helpful guide for understanding the pollen count and allergies in Houston.
4. Make spring cleaning fall cleaning to destroy dust mites
We’ve all heard of spring cleaning, but doing a little bit of fall cleaning can go a long way in preventing autumn allergies from making their way into your home. Dust mites thrive in humid weather, and when you start pulling blankets out of the linen closet and digging through the back of your wardrobe to find heavier sweaters and jackets, that encourages dust mites to come out and play.
Washing your linens (including your drapes) can significantly cut down on the number of dust mites (as well as pollen and mold spores) making your fabrics their home. Try to vacuum and clean/replace your air filters regularly. And if you can, invest in dust mite resistant bedding.
5. Visit a trusted ear, nose, and throat (ENT), your go-to for your fall allergies!
Whether you’re wondering, “Why are my allergies so bad in Texas” or “Why do you cough with allergies?” your local ENT is an invaluable resource for finding help. They’ll help you combat allergies with the best tools in their arsenal.
If you struggle with autumn allergies in Texas in general (and bad allergies in allergies in Houston), Dr. Michael Kaplan of Kaplan Sinus Relief is known for helping thousands of Houstonians find relief from sinus problems.
A change in seasons shouldn’t have to mean a change in your health. Call the professional staff at Kaplan Sinus Relief at 713-766-1818 or contact us online today. We’ll do everything we can to get you back to carving pumpkins and sipping pumpkin spice lattes in no time.