When most people think of seasonal allergies, they think of spring and pollen. But fall can be worse for allergy sufferers than spring, especially here in Jacksonville, Florida, where the cooler autumn weather causes the release of more weed pollen, mold, and spores.
At Jacksonville ENT Surgery, our allergy experts, Charles Greene, MD, PhD, and Tara Condrey, PA-C, specialize in helping patients in Lake City and Jacksonville, Florida, find relief from the aggravation allergies can cause. We’ve put our heads together to give you our top five tips for controlling seasonal allergies. Keep reading to learn what you need to know!
Understanding seasonal allergies
Allergies result when your immune system has a hypersensitive reaction to a particle it identifies as a harmful invader. You can have allergies all year long or seasonally when more particles that cause the reaction are in the environment.
About 50 million Americans struggle with fall allergies, and here in Florida, the most common fall allergens include mold, ragweed, spores, dust, and pet dander. However, if you’re sensitive to an allergen, you can have allergy symptoms no matter the time of year.
Fall allergies can trigger symptoms that resemble the common cold, like a runny nose, congestion, wheezing, and red, itchy, or watery eyes. Since allergies can cause swelling in your nasal passages, people with fall allergies also have a higher chance of getting sinus infections.
5 tips for controlling fall allergies
Even if you’ve never experienced fall allergies before, allergies can develop regardless of personal history or age. To help keep you healthy, here are our top five tips for controlling fall allergies.
1. Start taking allergy medicine before you have symptoms
One of the best ways to keep fall allergies under control is by taking your over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medication before autumn and your allergy symptoms get in full swing. Stay on top of your symptoms by taking the medication regularly all season long.
2. Avoid morning outdoor activities
Plants react to the sun’s light, so seasonal pollen counts, like ragweed, and spores are usually highest in the morning hours. If you avoid outside activities during the morning, you reduce your exposure to allergy-triggering pollen and spores.
3. Keep your windows closed
When the cooler weather hits, it’s tempting to open your windows and let in the pleasant fall air. But before throwing up the sash, check the daily pollen counts. If they’re high, be sure to keep your windows (and doors) closed to keep pollen away.
4. Wash away pollen after exposure
It’s impossible to avoid spending time outdoors during the fall, so after you’ve been outside, be sure to wash the clothes exposed to pollen as soon as you can. It’s also helpful to shower after spending time outside so you can wash away any allergens and better keep your symptoms under control.
5. Get professional allergy testing
If you’ve tried OTC medications but still struggle each year from fall allergies, it’s time to seek out professional allergy testing, which may include a skin prick test, patch test, intradermal test, blood test, and challenge tests.
While your symptoms can help you figure out the allergens that trigger them, testing
identifies the root cause of your allergies so we can give you the best treatment possible. Depending on your needs, your Jacksonville ENT Surgery provider creates a customized allergy treatment plan that may include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Specific OTC medications
- Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT)
If you need help controlling seasonal allergies, contact Jacksonville ENT Surgery in Lake City, Florida, or at one of our three Jacksonville offices. You can also request an appointment online now.