What are Fall Allergies?
Allergies occur when your body overreacts to a harmful foreign material like a bee sting or poison ivy or even a safe substance like pet dander or pollen. Your body's reactions to foreign material may cause sneezing, itching, inflammation of your digestive system, respiratory system, skin, or sinuses.
Causes of Fall Allergies
Allergens (allergy triggers) will vary from person to person and from location to location. The most common allergy trigger in the fall is ragweed. Ragweed will release pollen from August to October.
Even if Ragweed doesn't exist in your location, it can unfortunately travel hundreds of miles on the wind. Those who are irritated by ragweed pollen are often also allergic to some fruits and vegetables.Another common fall allergen is mold.
You may be surprised to learn that mold actually originates outside of your home, rather than in your basement or bathroom. Since it enjoys dark and damp areas with minimal wind, a pile of damp rotting leaves are the perfect place for mold to accumulate.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Fall Allergies
Symptoms of fall allergies can include the following milder symptoms:
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Watery or itchy eyes
- Itchy ears or mouth
Severe allergic reactions can include the following symptoms:
- Swollen lips or tongue
- Unexplained quick onset of anxiousness or confusion
- Quick drop in blood pressure
- Vomiting or Diarrhea
- Breathing issues such as wheezing or chest tightness
- Hives or skin rash
Your ENT specialist will usually begin diagnosis of your fall allergies by asking about your symptoms, possible triggers, and allergy history. Complete diagnosis may also involve a skin test. A skin test consists of various allergens being exposed to a small spot on your arm to see whether or not your body reacts in a negative manner.
Treatments for Fall Allergies
Treatment of fall allergies typically varies depending on the specific allergen, your reaction, and the severity of that reaction. Over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines, nasal sprays, or eye drops are examples of common treatments for milder symptoms. If these treatments are ineffective, medication may be prescribed by your ENT specialist.
In the event you face severe reactions to fall allergies like anaphylaxis or extreme breathing difficulty, your ENT specialist may recommend that you carry one or two epinephrine shots with you at all times. They'll also suggest that you notify others that you are with frequently of signs of your allergic reaction and how they can help you treat them (call 911 or administer epinephrine shot).