Fall allergens that can sneak up on you
Allergy and asthma symptoms do not only appear in spring and summer. The fall can cause sneezing and difficulty breathing, as can unstable weather conditions and other environmental factors.
Allergy sufferers may experience frequent symptoms during the fall, although they are mainly allergic to pollens in the spring and summer.
Sometimes the symptoms are the result of a natural event. For example, the eruption of the Tonga volcano in January sent particles and aerosols into the atmosphere that can alter global weather systems, potentially lengthening or shortening pollen seasons.
The seasons could be even longer this year in the northern hemisphere, where the year saw much hotter and drier conditions than normal.
Hurricane season is in full swing and these tropical storms can produce lots of rain and destroy vegetation. This can lead to fungal “blooms” that increase mold spores in the area, which can worsen allergy or asthma symptoms for months.
Cold fronts that trigger thunderstorms can also stir up ragweed and pollen from previous seasons that have traveled long distances.
People with mold-related asthma run the risk of symptoms becoming significantly worse, which can pose a health threat. Stay indoors after storms and if there is water damage, get it repaired as soon as possible to prevent mold growth.
Try to leave your allergies outside. Showering after being outdoors and removing and washing any clothing worn outside can help limit allergens that follow you indoors.
If you have symptoms, there are several treatment options, including over-the-counter antihistamines, nasal rinses, and allergy shots, which are a form of immunotherapy. Talk to your doctor about the best options for you.
A number of factors can cause more intense allergies and extend the season into the fall. Be prepared to breathe easily.
Mat Lecompte is a health and wellness reporter for Bel Marra Health, which first published this article.