It's certainly a possibility. Ragweed blooms profusely this time of year.
Those lovely, falling leaves become moldy, rotting vegetation after they hit
the ground. And no surprise it turns out many people are sensitive to both
ragweed pollen and mold.
Alternaria. Aspergillus. Cladosporium. Penicillium. Unless you have a special fondness for fungi, you’re probably not too familiar with these or any of the thousands of other common molds.
But if you’re among the estimated 5% of Americans who have mold allergies, you may be all too well acquainted with the itchy eyes, nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing, skin irritation, and other symptoms mold allergies can cause. Severe mold allergies can even trigger potentially dangerous asthma attacks.
Dust mites can also trigger fall allergy symptoms. Although
they're present year-round, dust mites are stirred up by dirty ventilation
systems. When you turn on your furnace, mold and dust mites are jettisoned into
your air space.
Start Treatment Before Fall Allergies Start
Here's some advice: See a doctor soon. Don't wait until the symptoms hit to
start getting treatment. The best way to get relief from runny noses and itchy,
watery eyes is to prevent them before they start.
Doctors advise starting your allergy medicines in late summer, since fall
weed pollens start increasing during August and into September and last until
the first frost, according to Dan Atkins, MD, director of ambulatory pediatrics
at National Jewish Medical & Research Center in Denver.
Fall Allergies: Know Your Options
Ready to tackle your fall allergies with medication? Take a look at these tips first:
Be careful with certain over-the-counter (OTC) nonprescription medications.
Nasal allergy drops and eye drops have agents that can create what's known as a
"rebound effect" which means that symptoms actually become worse,
despite the temporary relief.
A primary care doctor may advise specific OTC allergy medications as the
first step and for many people, they do take the edge off allergies so you can
function just fine. Note: the decongestant in some allergy medications, like
Claratin, can raise blood
pressure. Talk to your doctor about which is right for you.
Mucinex can help with drainage
and postnasal drip that causes coughing. Some people need a combination
approach over-the-counter and prescription medications.
If those don't provide relief, your doctor may prescribe a stronger antihistamine. You may need to try different brands
until you find one that works best for you. Try one for a week, and if it
hasn't worked, try another.
You may also need a prescription steroid nasal spray to control nasal
congestion and postnasal drip. Some people need prescription eyedrops for itchy
If you've tried all that without relief, see an allergist. You may be
highly allergic to multiple things in your environment.
Coping with fall allergies may take an experimental approach, but, for most,
relief is close at hand.