The Fall season has been approaching quickly and it is ready to unleash terrible allergies onto the world! Sneezing, running noses, itchy eyes, and scratchy throats will soon be everywhere we turn – but do not worry! Byrd-Watson Pharmacy has been preparing for this season all year and we are ready to help you defend yourself against the season of Fall allergies!
One of the biggest problems for people with allergies is ragweed. Ragweed begins to release pollen in August and can continue until the first frost. Ragweed pollen can travel hundreds of miles in the wind and can land on anything in its path, such as your clothing when you work outdoors or the fruits and vegetables that grow outside. Making sure that you change your clothes when you come back inside, as well as washing fruits and vegetables, can help keep ragweed from triggering your allergies.
Mold is another issue for Fall allergies. Most of us know mold likes to grow in damp areas, such as a basement or bathroom, but mold loves to grow in damp places outside too! This is especially important in the Fall because the trees are losing their leaves, which make perfect little puddles for mold growth when they collect water. Raking leaves can shake up the mold (as well as any pollen that has landed on them) and cause your allergies to act up. Wearing a mask while you work outside can help you avoid breathing anything in that may trigger your allergies. Keeping the air in your home between 35% and 50% humidity with a dehumidifier can be another way for you to tackle mold in your home.
Starting our furnaces for the first time can trigger a lot of allergies too. While we were all enjoying our summertime activities, our furnaces were collecting a variety of things to trigger our allergies in the Fall, such as dust, dust mites, pollen, and mold. The first time you turn the heat on, it stirs all of this up and it all gets released into the air in your home. A way to combat this is to clean your heating vents and change the filter before you turn the heat on for the first time. Using a HEPA filter in your heating system can also help remove things from the air.
There are other ways to avoid triggering your allergies too. Washing your bedding regularly and taking a shower (wash your hair too!) before bed can remove any mold or pollen that managed to come with you inside. Staying indoors with the windows closed can keep you from being exposed to your allergy triggers, especially in the late morning or midday when the pollen is at its peak. Weather apps or your local weather report may also inform you of what the pollen count will be for that day or week, which may be helpful for planning any time outdoors.
If trying these suggestions still doesn’t help your allergies, stop by Byrd-Watson Pharmacy. There are over-the-counter medications that you can take if nothing else helps, such as antihistamines, decongestants, and steroid nasal sprays. The staff at Byrd-Watson Pharmacy is eager to help you enjoy the Fall season without falling into a world of allergies!
Article by Laura Olsen, PharmD / Pharmacist-in-Charge at Byrd-Watson Pharmacy