Every season has particular triggers and conditions that contribute to an uptick in allergy and asthma symptoms for a lot of people. Most people think that Spring can be the worst time for seasonal allergies, and do not give much thought that Fall can also trigger severe allergy and asthma symptoms. In fact, in the Fall most people blame not feeling well due to the cold or flu, when in fact the culprit is really exposure to allergens in the air.
What are some of the things to watch out for this fall if you’re prone to asthma, allergies or other respiratory challenges? We’ve compiled some facts, figures and helpful tips that can make a difference for you this fall.
It’s all about the ragweed.
Ragweed causes what’s known as hay fever, and from mid-August until October, it can wreak havoc on those who are allergic to it. Symptoms include sneezing, runny and/or stuffy nose, and itchy, watery eyes.
It’s not just what’s in the air…it’s the changes in the weather.
Frequent travelers might be familiar with this phenomenon. Changes in temperature and humidity can actually trigger asthma attacks. Low humidity can dry out the mucous membranes, which can then lead to inflammation. Cold, dry air causes the lining of the nose to become swollen, which then makes it stuffy and runny.
Outdoor air isn’t the only offender.
In colder months, it’s common for indoor humidity levels to fall, which can exacerbate allergy and asthma symptoms. Ideal humidity levels for indoor environments is 35 – 50%, but many home and offices can be as low as 16%. In these cases, it may be necessary to use a humidifier to add moisture back into the air.
But too much moisture can result in mold spores, which are at high levels in the fall.
Mold spores are released in autumn and become more common outdoors as piles of wet, decaying leaves and other vegetation fall to the ground. High mold counts can also contribute to breathing problems for asthmatics.
Remember: fall is not only allergy season, but it’s also virus season.
The chances of contracting a cold or the flu increases, so make sure you keep an eye on your symptoms to ensure it’s only allergies and not something more serious like an infection.
Controlling your indoor air quality with an air purifier can help.
Removing dust, allergens, dust mites and odor from the air you breathe can make a noticeable difference for both allergy and asthma sufferers, and a good, quality air purifier can accomplish that.
So does vacuuming regularly.