11 Steps to Combating Fall Allergies
The lovely weather and landscapes of fall come at a price: allergies. Ragweed and mold thrive when temperatures drop and the leaves turn, triggering allergy symptoms such as runny noses, sneezing, and coughing in millions of people. Fortunately, preventing and combating fall allergies doesn't have to be difficult.
Decomposing leaves tend to accumulate moisture, causing mold to form. Raking them, or even being near them, can trigger allergic reactions, so consider having someone else remove them if you're especially sensitive.
Drying clothes outside can save a bit of money and avoid wear and tear on a dryer, but it's also a perfect way for allergens to attach themselves to clothing that will end up indoors. Stick with the machine dryer, and make sure to wash clothes that have been outside for extended periods.
High-efficiency particulate air filters work by forcing air through a fine mesh screen, trapping allergens and other particles. These filters are great at removing airborne particles from a room and generally cost from $55 to $300 at sellers including Amazon, Walmart, and Costco. Don't rely on the filters to neutralize allergens found in carpets or clothes, though.
The easiest route to an easy-breathing fall season is through antihistamine medication, which reduce allergy symptoms. Nasal sprays such as Flonase and Nasonex are "the best, first option," Consumer Reports says, but take time to work: newer, so-called "second-generation" antihistamines that include Allegra, Clarinex, and Claritin cause less drowsiness. Costs vary widely.
Most cities have online resources that publish up-to-date pollen counts, so check regularly and avoid going outside when it rises. If venturing outside is a must, consider wearing an antimicrobial mask (individual masks start at $10 at Walmart) and make sure to keep car windows rolled up.
Pollen sticks to just about everything, including your body. Avoid pollen buildup in the bedroom by showering before touching your mattress, and regularly washing sheets in hot water.
Pollen and mold spores trigger allergies when they land on the mucosa of the lungs, nose, and eyes. The most straightforward way to prevent allergies is to make sure this contact never happens. In addition to microbial masks, a simple hat and pair of sunglasses can do the trick -- the bigger, the better.
Outerwear can carry tons of pollen, so consider making it a rule to leave all shoes and coats by the door. It might be annoying at first, but the rest of the house will probably end up cleaner for it.