Reviewed by Carah B. Santos, MD

Fall is a time when people with allergies may notice a change in their condition. Being prepared for these changes can make a big difference in keeping your allergies well-controlled.

Tips for Fall Allergies

A lot of rain in the spring and early summer, followed by sunny, hot days, tends to produce more ragweed in the fall. Rainy days and piles of wet leaves lead to more mold growth. If weed pollens or molds cause your allergy symptoms, here are some steps you can take to find relief:

  • Plan outdoor activities for early or late in the day, as weed pollens are highest around midday. If you are outdoors during high pollen counts, take a shower, wash your hair and change your clothes when you come indoors.

  • If possible, keep windows and outside doors shut during pollen season. This is very important when pollen and mold counts are high. These counts are often reported on the TV news.

  • Stay away from wet leaves and garden trash. Mold spores thrive in these damp outdoor areas. Consider wearing a mask when raking leaves or using a leaf blower.

  • Prepare for colder weather. Before turning your heater on for the first time this season, clean the vents and change your air filter to remove mold or other allergens that may have been trapped over the summer.

  • Take the medicine your doctor recommends. Many different medicines are available to help control allergy symptoms when you can't avoid the things to which you are allergic. Keep in mind that allergy medicines work best when you take them every day, and it is best to start taking them before you are exposed to high levels of pollen or mold. Most allergists recommend that you start an antihistamine when the allergy season begins and continue taking it every day until allergy season is over. When allergy season is in full swing and your immune system is in high gear, medicines are less effective and take longer to relieve symptoms. Some over-the-counter antihistamines cause drowsiness. If they cause drowsiness, they may also affect thinking and muscle function. If you take one of these, use caution when operating a motor vehicle or machinery at work.

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