Why your allergies may worsen in autumn
Pollen and dust mite allergies spike during summer months. Unfortunately, the following Autumn months offer little respite to those prone to allergies.
Weed pollen, which can trigger hay fever symptoms, is common during the cooler season. The decaying plants and leaves disperse mould spores and other allergens into the air, which can enter a person’s nose, eyes, ears, and mouth. Increased levels of mould spores in the environment can also cause breathlessness in those suffering from asthma.
Staying indoors is unlikely to protect you from autumn allergies. Drop in humidity levels can cause nasal and lung allergy symptoms such as congestion, dry sinuses, nosebleeds, sore throat, or persistent cough. If the air in your home lacks moisture, you may also experience peeling or itchy skin, eczema, and other rashes.
Minimise exposure to autumn allergies
The good news is that you can take several steps to minimise allergies in autumn and reduce your level of discomfort.
1. Use a dehumidifier to maintain the indoor moisture at a healthy level of 40-50 percent. Choose a dehumidifier that is the right size for your house, and can be easily cleaned to prevent build up of mould and bacteria.
2. Avoid going near areas that are likely to be infested with mould; for instance places with heavy vegetation, compost heaps, cellars or piles of fallen leaves. If you must do a bit of gardening, wearing a mask will help keep the allergens at bay.
3. Trim trees and hedges surrounding your home to reduce exposure to mould and other allergens stuck on leaves.
4. Despite falling humidity, mould may still infest nooks and crannies in your home such as the kitchen, bathroom, and utility room. Regular cleaning and ventilation will help keep these areas mould-free.
5. Avoid drying clothes indoors. Use a tumble dryer or hang the laundry out to dry.
6. Vacuum the house regularly to reduce presence of indoor allergens such as pet dander and dust mites.
7. If you are prone to autumn allergies, discuss preventative treatment options with your doctor/allergist. You may be advised over-the-counter (e.g. topical nasal sprays), or prescription medicines to manage your allergies.
8. Fight autumn allergies naturally by including certain foods in your diet. Broccoli, kale, garlic, onions, pumpkins, carrots, and celery are all great foods to help boost your immunity. Some foods and herbs such as melons, apples, bananas, cucumber, zucchini, chamomile tea, honey, and nuts, may worsen your autumn allergies. Avoid these foods in the cooler seasons or consume them only when cooked.
The common symptoms of autumn allergies are sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, itchy nose, and itchy, watery eyes. With the change in season as temperatures lower, it is easy to mistake an allergic reaction for the flu or cold. Consult an allergist if you have not been diagnosed with seasonal allergies but experience recurring autumn allergy symptoms.
Do you suffer from autumn allergies? If so, what precautions do you take to minimise the symptoms?
Photo credit: adamsonne