The Most Common Allergies and How to Battle Them
Every year numerous people suffer from allergies. Although there are many different types of allergies, including food allergies and skin allergies, seasonal allergies are among the most common. Many people associate seasonal allergies with the pollen that explodes into the air during the spring; however, there are also numerous allergens that can cause a number of allergy symptoms during the fall. Understanding the most common types of allergies that can affect you during the fall and how to best fight them can help you to cope with your allergy symptoms and avoid many of the most common symptoms.
More Allergy Information
Ragweed is by far one of the most common types of allergies experienced during the fall months. While many people are not aware of it, much of the problem lies in the fact that just one ragweed plan can release a billion or more grains of pollen. These yellow plants tend to bloom during the month of August. Seasonal allergies related to the ragweed plant can continue far into fall until the plant is finally killed by the first freeze. The plant actually grows around the country but tends to be more prevalent in rural areas in the Midwest and the East. It is estimated that around 75% of people who experience allergies during the spring will also experience allergy symptoms related to ragweed pollen during the fall.
One of the best ways to combat ragweed allergies is to monitor the pollen count in your local area and when the pollen count is high, make an attempt to stay indoors. Keep in mind the peak hours for the ragweed pollen count usually occurs between mid-morning and early afternoon. If you do need to go outside, make a point of wearing a mask to help protect you from breathing in pollen. It is also a good idea to keep your car windows closed and always remove your jacket and shoes before you enter your home. Wash your curtains, linens and clothes regularly as well as vacuum your upholstery and carpets frequently.
Mold and Mildew
Many people are also affected by allergies related to mold and mildew. These allergens are actually fungi that live both indoors and outdoors. They grow from spores that are spread through indoor air or the wind. Unlike other allergens, mold and mildew can grow throughout the year. During the fall, mold and mildew often develop on damp leaves that have fallen to the ground. They can also be prominent on compost piles. In indoor areas, mold and mildew live in damp areas such as the bathroom, basement and kitchen. While mold and mildew may become dormant during the winter months, they will not be killed by the arrival of the first frost.
To fight mold and mildew allergies, make sure you remove fallen leaves from your yard regularly instead of leaving them in piles. Ensure your compost pile is kept at a distance from your home and clean your compost bins on a regular basis. When cleaning compost bins and raking leaves be sure to wear a protective mask and gloves. Clean your kitchen and bathroom regularly to avoid having mold and mildew build up. You may also find relief by using a dehumidifier in your home.
Dust mites can cause allergy problems all year long. These microscopic arthropods primarily feed on human skin that has been shed in the home. Dust mites typically thrive in temperature ranges of between 60 and 70 degrees, but will typically die in very high temperatures. While it is almost impossible to rid your home completely of dust mites, there are some steps you can take to help manage them and keep your allergies under control. One way to do so is to make sure you clean your air vents prior to turning on your central unit for the first time during the fall. It is also a good idea to cover pillows and mattresses with dust-proof covers. Wash all linens in hot water regularly and dust and vacuum frequently. Wear a mask when vacuuming and cleaning to limit your exposure to dust mites. If possible, you may also consider removing carpeting in your home and installing a flooring alternative instead, such as hardwood floors.
Pet dander and fur are also common problems of allergies among many people. Pet dander is actually dead skin that is shed by animals. As many as 30% of people of experience allergies on a seasonal basis will usually also have problems with pet allergies. These types of allergies can often be triggered by an immune system that is overly-sensitive and will react to fur, dander, urine and/or saliva from pets. There are some breeds of dogs that may cause stronger reactions than other breeds. Interestingly, cats are far more likely than dogs to cause an allergic reaction in humans.
To cope with allergies related to pets, try to avoid contact with any furry pets whenever possible. If you do wish to have a pet, be sure to consider a breed that is hypoallergenic. Pet owners should also make it a point to have their pets washed and groomed on a regular basis. When doing so, be sure to wear a filtering mask to help limit your exposure to pet dander. You should also make an effort to keep your pets off your upholstered furniture. Another option is to limit your pets to only specific areas of your home. Pet bedding and litter boxes should always be kept as far away from air vents as possible. An air purifier can also be used to assist in cleaning the air in your home and keeping pet allergens under control.
Medical Treatments for Common Allergies
Many people also find that their allergies can be kept well under control with the use of over-the-counter medications that specifically target allergies. Such medicines contain antihistamines and come in the form of eye drops, pills or nasal sprays. Individuals with very severe allergies whose symptoms do not respond to over-the-counter treatments may wish to consider immunotherapy or allergy shots as an effective solution. Such immunotherapy shots work by exposing the immune system gradually to particular allergens so the immune system is able to gradually build up a tolerance to those allergens.
Allergies can certainly be a nuisance and can even affect your ability to function normally. Educating yourself about the most common allergies and the best way combat them can help you to reduce your allergy symptoms and live as normal a life as possible despite your allergies.