Most people think of spring or summer as peak allergy season. However, you're not safe from allergy symptoms just because the weather has cooled down. Fall plants and pollen can also wreak havoc on the immune system and trigger issues like a runny nose, watery eyes, or sneezing.
What Causes Fall Seasonal Allergies?
Regardless of the season in which they occur, allergy symptoms result from an immune system overreaction. While allergens are not harmful, your immune system identifies these substances as a threat. Your body then initiates a defense response and releases histamine to remove the allergen from your body.
Fall allergy symptoms are typically caused by pollen from certain types of weeds. However, they can also be caused by other environmental and indoor allergens, including mold, dust mites, and animal dander.
Which Allergens Trigger Fall Allergies?
If you're experiencing allergies in October or in the fall season, your allergies are likely triggered by certain types of weed pollen or indoor allergens. While the plants in season will vary depending on where you live, some of the most common allergens that cause allergies in the fall include:
- Burning bush
- Russian thistle
- Mold spores
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
Of all the fall allergy plant-based triggers, ragweed pollen is particularly problematic. Ragweed is a flowering plant that only lives for one season. However, in its short lifespan, it can produce up to 1 billion pollen grains.
Ragweed begins pollinating in late summer, usually early or mid-August, and continues through September or October when temperatures drop. Ragweed plants exist in nearly all of the country's 50 states. However, even if you don't live in an area where ragweed is common, you can still experience symptoms from ragweed pollen.
Ragweed pollen's tiny, lightweight grains can travel hundreds of miles by air. Even those in areas with a low pollen count can still be affected.
What Are Common Fall Allergy Symptoms?
Some people struggle with fall allergies and don't even realize it since seasonal allergy symptoms can be similar to the common cold. Common allergy symptoms to be on the lookout for include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Watery or itchy eyes
- Scratchy throat
- Post-nasal drip
Fall allergies may also contribute to asthma attacks and worsen asthma symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing. Those diagnosed with asthma should take extra care to protect themselves from fall allergens and triggers like mold, dust, or pet dander.
How Are October Allergies Diagnosed?
If you're experiencing any of these allergy symptoms during the fall, taking an allergy test is the best way to find relief. Understanding what allergens are causing your symptoms will help you find an effective allergy treatment plan to get rid of your symptoms.
There are several different methods of allergy testing available. Traditional allergy testing methods are often inconvenient and uncomfortable. However, easy at-home allergy testing is available through Wyndly. Learn the differences now.
Skin Prick Test
When most people think of allergy testing, they think of the skin prick test. A skin prick test involves an allergist pricking or scraping patients' skin with a needle tipped with various allergens.
After scraping the skin, the allergist observes the patient for signs of an allergic reaction, such as itchiness, redness, or swelling. If your body reacts with one or all of these signs, you're likely allergic to that specific substance.
Skin prick testing can be a time-consuming and uncomfortable approach to allergy testing. Identifying an allergist and booking an appointment alone can take several weeks to months. Not only will you have to take this test in person at an allergist’s office, but you’ll have to deal with itchy hives afterward if you end up being allergic to one of the allergens you were exposed to during the test.
At-Home Allergy Test
Unlike skin prick tests, at-home allergy testing kits are more user-friendly and pain-free. Here's how they work:
- Order Wyndly's at-home allergy test online. Our CLIA-certified tests are shipped directly to your doorstep.
- Take the allergy test and send it back to us. It just takes one quick finger prick test to provide a blood sample. Then, you'll mail it back when you're done.
- Receive your personalized treatment plan. Our doctor will interpret your test results, develop an allergy profile, and then meet with you to discuss your personalized treatment plan. An allergy test can reveal the full breadth of your allergies. This way, you know exactly what you're allergic to and how you can treat your symptoms.
An at-home allergy test is a comfortable, simple solution that gives you an in-depth understanding of your environmental and seasonal allergies.
How to Treat Seasonal Allergies in Fall?
Whether your seasonal allergy symptoms are caused by ragweed pollen, mold spores, dust mites, or any other common autumnal allergen, you can minimize these issues and stop them from ruining this time of year. Below are some specific suggestions you can implement to improve fall allergy symptoms.
One of the easiest ways to combat watery eyes, coughing, and other common signs of fall allergies is to limit your exposure to the allergens that are causing your symptoms.
The following practices can help you avoid exposure and reduce your allergy reactions:
- Monitor the pollen count: Check the pollen count in your area before going outside. If the pollen count is high, try to reduce the amount of time you spend outdoors. Keep your windows closed to reduce the amount of pollen that gets into your home.
- Stay indoors when pollen counts are high: Pollen counts are usually highest in the morning and afternoon. If you are going to spend time outdoors, try to plan around when the pollen count is at its highest to reduce your exposure to your allergy triggers.
- Avoid wearing shoes indoors: Wearing shoes inside your home after being outside can cause you to track pollen and other allergens into your home. Take your shoes off when you come inside to limit how much pollen you bring into your home with you.
- Wipe your pets: If you have pets that spend time outdoors, wipe them down regularly with a damp towel to keep them from tracking in allergens.
- Clean regularly: Vacuum your home with a HEPA filter to capture pollen and other allergy triggers. This will help to prevent pollen, dust, and animal dander from building up.
- Shower as soon as you come inside: Cleaning yourself after being outside will help you to get rid of pollen that might be lingering in your hair or skin. Showering after an extended period of time outdoors will help you wash off the pollen instead of tracking it through your home.
- Do laundry more often: Pollen can also stick to your clothes after you’ve been outdoors. Cleaning your clothes more often will reduce the amount of pollen that builds up on your clothing or the amount of pollen your clothes bring inside.
While limiting exposure can reduce your allergy symptoms, certain allergy triggers, like pollen, are nearly impossible to fully avoid. Certain medications can help you temporarily manage your fall allergy symptoms.
- Antihistamines: Antihistamines are a widely available type of OTC medication that temporarily blocks histamine production. This results in short-term symptom relief from mild to moderate symptoms.
- Nasal sprays: Nasal sprays can combat runny or stuffy noses by reducing nasal swelling and inflammation.
- Eye drops: Eye drops can flush pollen from the eyes to provide short-term relief from itchiness, redness, and wateriness.
If OTC allergy medications aren't effective for you, or you are looking for long-term relief, sublingual immunotherapy might be right for you.
Sublingual immunotherapy provides long-term relief from your allergies. Sublingual immunotherapy, also known as allergy drops or tablets, involves gradually introducing small doses of an allergen into the body. This gradual exposure retrains the immune system to ignore your allergy triggers instead of reacting.
Sublingual immunotherapy is as effective as allergy shots. However, there's no need to deal with painful injections or inconvenient, time-consuming doctor's appointments. You can safely take sublingual immunotherapy from the comfort of your home.
Take Our Allergy Assessment
Do you want long-term relief from your fall allergy symptoms? If so, Wyndly might be right for you. Our allergy doctors will help you identify exactly what’s causing your symptoms and create a personalized treatment plan to help you live free from your allergies.
Take our quick online assessment today to see if sublingual immunotherapy is right for you!