Many of us are familiar with springtime allergies but fall allergies are nearly just as common with 75% of those allergic to spring plants also having reactions in the fall.
What are Seasonal Allergies?
Whether you experience spring or fall allergies, they both develop when the body’s immune system is triggered by something in the environment. Seasonal allergies specifically occur when the body overreacts to certain plants pollinating. It is estimated that about 8% of Americans experience allergies that occur in a specific season.
The severity of seasonal allergies varies from person to person as everyone’s immune response is individual.
Common symptoms include:
- Watery and/or itchy eyes
- Itchy throat, sinuses, and/or ear canals
Other symptoms include:
- Headaches and/or migraines
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Ear congestion
It is important to note that for people who are prone to suffer from a condition that affects their breathing, such as asthma, symptoms can be more severe and can trigger an asthma attack.
Fall Allergy Triggers
The most common allergy trigger in the fall is ragweed. Ragweed usually starts to release pollen in August due to the cool nights and warm days and it can last through November.
Although ragweed does not grow in all parts of the country, its pollen can travel for hundreds of miles in the wind, making it difficult to avoid.
For people who are allergic to ragweed, other fall allergy triggers can include:
- Cigarette smoke
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
In addition to pollen, there are other environmental factors that can influence the severity of symptoms: When it is windy and warm, pollen counts surge. When there is no wind, airborne allergens such as pollen are grounded. Pollen levels often peak in the morning. Pollen counts increase after rainfall. The pollen of trees, grasses, and weeds thrive from the combination of cool nights and warm days.
Strategies to Avoid Triggers:
- Monitor pollen and mold counts. For pollen, this information should be accessible via local weather reports. Mold can be included in reports as well but it is also important to have your home tested for mold if you are experiencing symptoms of seasonal allergies.
- Keep windows and doors closed in your home and car to limit pollen exposure.
- See an allergy specialist to figure out what pollens you are sensitive to. This way you can check the pollen counts of specific plants and be aware of when their pollen levels are at their highest.
- Shower after spending an extended period of time outdoors to remove any allergens that may have attached to you.
- When performing outdoor tasks such as mowing the lawn, wear a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask.
Ways to Alleviate Symptoms:
- Cleanse your nasal passages: Because pollen adheres to the mucus membrane in the nose, it can be beneficial to cleanse your nasal passages with a neti pot, sinus irrigator, or nasal oils.
- Try herbal remedies: Butterbur is a European shrub that acts similar to an antihistamine and is a natural way to relieve symptoms.
- Eat foods with quercetin: Quercetin is found naturally in many foods such as onions, apples, and black tea. This nutrient helps block the release of histamines and can help minimize symptoms.
- Drink apple cider vinegar: Adding just two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your water a day can help boost the immune system, break up mucus, and support lymphatic drainage, all of which help reduce allergy symptoms.
- Take a probiotic: Studies link the presence of beneficial bacteria in the gut to a decrease in the occurrence of allergy symptoms.
- Incorporate essential oils into your routine: Essential oils have various health benefits and peppermint, basil, eucalyptus, and tea tree oils all have been shown to help combat inflammation, a common cause of symptoms.
- Practice detox methods: Allergies are frequently worsened by toxins in the body. The liver mediates both toxins and inflammation in addition to metabolizing stress, alcohol, processed foods, and other harmful substances. Minimizing the stress put on your liver by avoiding inflammatory foods and alcohol while practicing detox methods can better equip your liver to deal with allergens.
- Try acupuncture: This treatment can help address underlying imbalances and help with symptom relief.
- Visit a chiropractor: Chiropractic care can help release stress on the nervous system, which allows the immune system to function more effectively.
Seasonal allergies can feel like they rule your day and control your mood but effective lifestyle changes and treatment methods can greatly reduce your symptoms. If you are experiencing severe seasonal allergies and are not getting the help you need, contact Holtorf Medical Group today to see how we can help you!