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Fall Allergies: Seasonal Tips to End the Itch

Want to ditch the itch, leaky nose, and watery eyes of seasonal allergies? These tips can help.

Medically Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on July 01, 2007

Every fall, you're suddenly sneezing, coughing. Could it be fallallergies?

It's certainly a possibility. Ragweed blooms profusely this time of year.Those lovely, falling leaves become moldy, rotting vegetation after they hitthe ground. And no surprise it turns out many people are sensitive to bothragweed pollen and mold.

Dust mites can also trigger fall allergy symptoms. Althoughthey're present year-round, dust mites are stirred up by dirty ventilationsystems. When you turn on your furnace, mold and dust mites are jettisoned intoyour air space.

Start Treatment Before Fall Allergies Start

Here's some advice: See a doctor soon. Don't wait until the symptoms hit tostart 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 fallweed pollens start increasing during August and into September and last untilthe first frost, according to Dan Atkins, MD, director of ambulatory pediatricsat 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 thefirst step and for many people, they do take the edge off allergies so you canfunction just fine. Note: the decongestant in some allergy medications, likeClaratin, can raise bloodpressure. Talk to your doctor about which is right for you.
  • Mucinex can help with drainageand postnasal drip that causes coughing. Some people need a combinationapproach 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 brandsuntil you find one that works best for you. Try one for a week, and if ithasn't worked, try another.
  • You may also need a prescription steroid nasal spray to control nasalcongestion and postnasal drip. Some people need prescription eyedrops for itchyeyes.
  • If you've tried all that without relief, see an allergist. You may behighly allergic to multiple things in your environment.

Coping with fall allergies may take an experimental approach, but, for most,relief is close at hand.