What with pumpkin spice lattes, the beautiful changing leaves, Halloween parties, trick-or-treating, and the cooling weather that offers a respite from blazing summer temperatures, there’s a lot to love about fall. But there’s one thing many people don’t love about this season, and that’s seasonal allergies.
Experts at the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America expect this fall to be an especially bad one for allergies. Ragweed, a plant that’s common throughout the United States, is to blame for most fall allergy symptoms, thanks to its pollen. Under normal circumstances, the ragweed season begins in mid-August and lasts until about late September. But thanks to the long, cold winter that gripped much of the nation last year, and the unusually cool summer temperatures that followed, ragweed season will last until late October this year.
If you’re one of the many who suffer from seasonal allergies in the fall, it’s important to get treatment. Over-the-counter medications can actually cause your symptoms to get worse after about a week, because they work by constricting the blood vessels in your sinuses and nose. After several days, your body will react by causing these blood vessels to expand again, causing even more congestion.
A prescription medication like Nasonex can help you control your allergy symptoms, especially when combined with precautions designed to keep your home free of pollen, mold, and dust mites. Take steps to keep pollen and mold out of your home. Wash bedding and stuffed animals regularly to reduce allergens in the environment. Consider using an air filtration system to keep your indoor air clean, and try to avoid going outside when pollen counts are highest.
Your Allergies Need Treatment
Like many long-time seasonal allergy sufferers, you’ve probably gotten used to living with allergy symptoms for several weeks out of the year. But allergy symptoms significantly reduce your quality of life — something you may not realize if you’ve become accustomed to them. Not only that, but they affect your ability to be productive at work, too. As many as 55 percent of American workers suffer from seasonal allergies for an average of 53 days a year, and miss an average of 3.5 workdays each year thanks to these symptoms. For each day that you power through at work in spite of your symptoms, you lose a good two hours of productivity.
Seasonal allergies cost the average American employer $593 per employee in terms of productivity cost. How does that stack up to other common illnesses? Depression costs $273 per employee each year, and arthritis costs $269 per employee per year. You and your employer should take your seasonal allergies seriously and treat them with a prescription medication. If you can’t afford to buy prescription allergy medication at your local pharmacy, you can buy them at a discount from a reputable Canadian pharmacy.
Keep Your Environment Free of Allergens
If you’re allergic to pollen or mold, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to avoid these allergens entirely — that’s why medication is such an important part of the treatment process. But there are steps you can take to dramatically reduce the allergens within your home and environment and mitigate your symptoms. Some simple measures to reduce your exposure to allergens in your home include:
- Control humidity.If you’re allergic to mold or dust mites, keep the humidity in your home to between 35 and 50 percent. Humidity encourages these allergens to flourish.
- Keep it outside.Decaying plants and leaves release mold in the fall. Keep your windows closed at home and in the car. Update the seals around home doors and windows to keep out moisture, mold, and pollen. Remove outerwear and shoes as soon as you come in, preferably in a mud room so you don’t track pollen or mold inside.
- Keep it clean.You can drastically reduce the amount of pollen and mold inside your home by washing bedding, stuffed animals, and pets weekly. Remove carpeting, rugs, and drapes from your home. Avoid upholstered furniture as much as possible. Wash fruits and vegetables to remove ragweed pollen as well as pesticides.
- Install air filters.If your allergies are severe, you may want to consider installing a HEPA air filter in your bedroom or installing MERV 11 or 12 air filters in your home’s cooling and heating systems. Filters are most helpful for those with pollen and mold allergies. If you take this step, have your filtering devices cleaned and serviced every six months.
Plants release the majority of their pollen early in the morning, so if you’re allergic to ragweed or other pollen, it’s best to avoid going outside early in the morning if you can help it. If you can, wait until later in the morning to go outside. Check the day’s pollen counts on the National Allergy Bureau website.
Seasonal allergies can make the fall season miserable, but you don’t have to suffer. Medication can relieve your allergy symptoms, and you can keep most pollen and mold out of your home. Take charge of your allergy symptoms, and regain your quality of life — every day of the year.