What Causes Fall Allergies?

Close up image of ragweed plant in a field

arFor those who suffer from fall allergies, itching, sneezing, coughing, and congestion are unavoidable parts of life for a few months every year.

Seasonal allergies are an extremely common condition impacting nearly 50 million Americans every autumn. Despite the prevalence of the condition and the fact that it has been found to decrease the overall quality of life, many with allergies do little to alleviate the transient symptoms. 

The best way to prevent seasonal allergies is to avoid common environmental triggers. In this article, we will explore what causes fall allergies and provide practical solutions to prevent, limit, and treat symptoms.

Fall Allergies & the Environment

The change in season from summer to fall triggers a variety of environmental factors that can lead to seasonal allergies. If you’ve been experiencing symptoms, keep reading to learn about a few of the most common causes.

Pollen

Studies have found that climate change is causing plants to produce more pollen, which is bad news for allergy sufferers. Pollen is among the leading causes of seasonal allergies, with an estimated 10-30 percent of the global population impacted.

Many plants with pollen can trigger allergic reactions, but the most common is ragweed. This plant is commonly found in the East and Midwestern regions of the U.S., but it can be carried significant distances by the wind. Since each plant can release up to one billion pollen particles into the air, everyone in the U.S. can be impacted by ragweed allergy. 

Ragweed season begins in August and ends in October. The level of pollen can vary drastically based on the climate conditions. For example, ragweed has been known to produce more pollen during drier years when autumn nights are cool and days are warm.

Plants

Aside from ragweed pollen, there are many plants that can trigger allergies. Sufferers may find relief by avoiding areas where these plants are common, but wind conditions may allow particles to travel long distances.

A few plants that are known to cause allergy symptoms include:

  • Pine
  • Poplar
  • Sheep’s sorrel
  • Walnut
  • Bermuda grass
  • Bluegrass
  • Nettle 
  • Curly dock 
  • Lambsquarter 
  • Pigweed 
  • Cedar
  • Elm
  • Birch
  • Oak 
  • Sagebrush 
  • Mugwort 
  • Russian thistle
  • Cocklebur

Avoid bringing too many plants inside the home as the weather gets colder. Since pine is a common allergy, this can trigger symptoms around the holiday season as families decorate their homes with trees and wreaths.

Pollution

Air quality can decrease in the fall due to a variety of factors. Depending on which state you live in, wildfire smoke can have a measurable impact on the air quality outside your home. Smoke from fireplaces can also contribute to negative symptoms. 

Inhaling smoke pollution can cause:

  • Eye and throat irritation
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Asthma attacks
  • Fatigue

Additional air quality concerns include pollution from VOCs, cleaning products, aerosol sprays, scented candles, paints, and building materials. Not only can these particles cause or worsen allergies, but long-term exposure to pollutants can also lead to heart disease, stroke, and respiratory illness. 

Indoors

Spending more time indoors may make you feel protected from outdoor pollutants and allergens, but the truth is many common causes of allergies are inside the home as well. 

Pet dander and hair are major triggers for allergy symptoms. Even if a pet isn’t in your vicinity, particles that linger in carpets, furniture, and bedding can cause irritating reactions.

Spending more time indoors also leads to an increased risk of contracting a virus or being exposed to bacteria. While colds and flu are not technically allergic reactions, they can severely exacerbate symptoms and make them difficult to deal with.

Other Environmental Triggers

Seasonal allergies can arise from exposure to any seasonal item or natural element. Here are a few other possible causes:

  • Mold from leaves and dead brush
  • Smoke from wildfires, campfires, or fireplaces
  • Insect bites and other pests entering the home for winter
  • Hot tub chemicals
  • Holiday foods
  • Holiday decorations and candles

Fall Allergy Issues

The most common symptoms of fall allergies include:

  • Eye, throat, and nose irritation
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Congestion
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Fatigue

Luckily for most allergy sufferers, these symptoms typically last a few weeks and only appear a few times per year. However, if your allergies are ongoing or impacting your life in a significant way, it’s important to consult with a healthcare practitioner.

How to Treat Fall Allergies

The best way to lessen symptoms of fall allergies is to limit exposure to triggers. It’s difficult to control the air quality outdoors, so it’s ideal to stay inside when possible. This is especially important when there is a smoke or smog warning in your area.

A few proven remedies for allergy symptoms include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Corticosteroid or cromolyn sodium nasal sprays
  • Decongestants

Improving air quality inside the home can significantly reduce allergy symptoms by removing pollutants, contaminants, and irritants from the air. The best way to achieve this is with an air purifier.

High-quality air purifiers can eliminate mold, dust, smoke, dander, and other allergens from a home. In doing so, they limit the user’s exposure to allergens which could prevent the onset of many symptoms. They can also be beneficial for those who work or spend a lot of time outdoors.

Better Air Quality During the Fall

To avoid the worst allergy symptoms, the only solution is to limit exposure to allergens. With an air purifier, you can protect your family from bacteria, contaminants, and airborne toxins to preserve their health and well-being.

The iAdaptAir® Purifier is an affordable unit backed by five layers of protection, including a HEPA filter, carbon filter, silver ion filter, UV light, and advanced bi-polar ionization technology. Shop now to select the right size for your home and family.

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