I love the fall! The weather is getting cooler and crisper and I enjoy lots of outdoor activities this time of year. One thing I hate about the fall is my fall allergies! I get itchy, watery eyes, bad headaches and a combination of sinus congestion and a runny nose (how is that even possible?!). When I wake up I have a sore, scratchy throat and my asthma likes to kick in. Simply put, allergies make me MISERABLE.
Do you know what the 5 most common fall allergy triggers are? I bet you can guess a bunch of them!
Ragweed Pollen. That beautiful yellow flower you see growing along the side of the road and fields right now is one of the top culprits for fall allergies. Ragweed causes a lot of the classic allergy symptoms such as sneezing, scratchy throat and itchy eyes.
Mold. Not just the kind you find in gross motel showers (you know what I’m talking about) but the kind that thrives outside in the Philadelphia area where we have hot, wet and muggy summers. Typical mold symptoms include sneezing and runny nose.
Unseasonably Warm Days. Yep. You read that right. On those gorgeous days in the fall that are nice and warm and all you want to do is be outside- that can be another trigger. To avoid the worst of these allergies plan activities a little later in the day as early morning is the worst for pollen. Use a respirator or hire a local neighbor kid to mow your lawn or rake your leaves as these activities will stir up mold spores.
Pets. Most of us are aware that pet dander is a common allergy trigger but even if you are not allergic to your pet, pollen may get on your pet’s fur and be brought inside. To avoid this you can wipe your pet down with a damp cloth when they come inside to help reduce the allergens entering the home.
Dust Mites. (Yuck, I know!) As the weather gets cooler and we start spending more time inside, it is placing us in more frequent contact with dust mites. Dust mites live in upholstery, bedding and in carpeting and cause year round allergy symptoms. A thorough vacuuming of carpets and furniture as we head into the fall can help. Weekly washing of bedding in warm to hot water can also help reduce these allergens.[i]
Okay, great, Lisa, now we know how we’re going to suffer this fall. What can we do about that?
I’m so glad you asked!
First and foremost, if you experience sudden and severe allergic reactions (difficulty breathing, hives, GI upset, swelling, or new reactions that are making you uncomfortable) go seek prompt medical attention! [ii]
If you have normal allergies, here are some ideas you can use to help ease your allergy symptoms.
As stated above, adjusting the timing of your outdoor activities to later in the day may help reduce the amount of pollen you are exposed to.
Wearing a face mask or hiring a neighborhood kid to mow your lawn or rake your leaves will reduce your exposure to mold spores and pollen while tending to your lawn.
A thorough vacuuming of furniture, carpeting and washing of bedding will help reduce dust mites in your house.
Using a moldicide in damp basements or bathroom cabinets and using a dehumidifier will help reduce any potential mold in your house.
Switch your air filter! Swapping out your old filter for one better suited for filtering pollen and mold will reduce the allergens spreading in your house.
Use a Neti Pot. The Neti Pot flushes the sinuses with a saline solution and can help reduce or eliminate sinus symptoms.[iii]
Try Chinese Herbs! We have a wide array of allergy formulas available to patients and can help you find the right one for your particular symptoms. My personal favorite is AllerEase. It eases the majority of my allergy symptoms without any medication “hang over” or brain fogginess. We even have formulas to help boost the immune system to prepare your body for the upcoming allergy season!
Get regular acupuncture during allergy season. Research has shown that regular acupuncture beats out antihistamines in the treatment of allergies. [iv]
So there you have it! I hope these ideas help you have an easier, healthier and happier autumn! If you are interested in trying acupuncture or Chinese Herbs for allergies, I am happy to accommodate you.
As always, if you or someone you know have questions about acupuncture or Chinese Herbs, I am happy to speak with you.
[i] Hanes, E. (2019, September 9). 6 Worst Fall Allergies Triggers: How to Avoid Fall Allergy Symptoms. Retrieved from https://www.healthgrades.com/conditions/6-worst-fall-allergy-triggers-and-how-to-avoid-them?cid=63emHLN090319ENG&elq_mid=2183&elq_cid=1064863&utm_campaign=CN_HLN_19_09_03 Else: Engaged&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua
[ii] (2019). Allergy Attacks and Allergic Reactions: Know When To Seek Urgent Care. Retrieved from https://www.gohealthuc.com/library/allergy-attacks-and-allergic-reactions-know-when-seek-urgent-care
[iii] Ratini, M. (Ed.). (2018, January 24). Neti Pots for Sinus Infections: Do They Help? Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/allergies/neti-pots#1
[iv][iv] White, A. L. (2018, April 5). Acupuncture Beats Antihistamines For Allergic Rhinitis. Retrieved from https://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1840-acupuncture-beats-antihistamines-for-allergic-rhinitis