Avoiding Common Fall Allergies
Every time the fall season rolls around, millions of Americans are affected by fall allergens, which can cause a number of very uncomfortable symptoms. Some of these include itchy, watery eyes, persistent sneezing, feelings of fatigue and or nausea, and sometimes even headaches.
Most of these symptoms will last in varying degrees until the first frost of the season arrives, to put an end to pollen which gets circulated throughout the air and into homes. The most common kinds of fall allergens are discussed below, along with some recommendations on how you can avoid being affected by them.
Dealing with Ragweed
Ragweed is a plant which begins blooming in August, but which doesn’t really produce allergic symptoms until mid-September, and on into the next month. Once the first freeze arrives, the ragweed plant will be killed, and no further discomfort will be caused to allergy sufferers.
However, until that first freeze arrives, all of the symptoms mentioned above can be experienced in full force, making life miserable for an allergy sufferer. Something like three-quarters of all people who experience springtime allergies will also be affected by the pollen from ragweed, according to statistics maintained by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
The best way to deal with ragweed is to maintain awareness of the local pollen count, which is usually broadcast by local television stations during the segment dealing with the weather. To the greatest degree possible, you should try staying indoors, especially during those hours which are the peak time of activity for pollen circulation. These times are considered to be all those hours from mid-morning up to about mid-afternoon.
You should also keep your windows and doors closed in the house, as well as when you’re traveling in a car or other vehicle. Vacuuming rugs and upholstery is a good idea because any pollen which has penetrated the interior would likely settle on these. Washing your linens, clothes, and draperies will help to remove any pollen which has settled on them, and you should make a point of changing your clothes whenever you come in from the outdoors.
Pollens attach themselves to all kinds of clothing very well, and that means you could be the agent of your own discomfort by bringing them into the household. If you have pets in the home, they should be bathed at least weekly, especially if they go outdoors at all, because there fur is natural for collecting pollen.
Dealing with Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew tend to develop and proliferate in areas which are subject to damp conditions, and these can include bathrooms, kitchens, and especially basements. Basements are somewhat likelier environments for mold and mildew to grow in, simply because they may not receive the same level of attention that bathrooms and kitchens do, in terms of cleaning and keeping them dry.
Unlike things like ragweed, mold and mildew are not killed off when the first frost arrives, because obviously, they are not plants. However, the good news is that both these contaminants do tend to go into dormant stages during wintertime. You should not rely on the fact that they are more dormant in the wintertime though, because they will spring back to life when the weather warms up, and that means you’ll be bothered by them all over again. It’s much better to root out mold and mildew wherever it exists in your living environment so that it doesn’t come back to plague you in the next warm season.
You can start by removing leaves from the gutters around your house, and by raking up all the leaves which have fallen from trees. These should not be left in piles around the home but should be disposed of by some means, so that mold and mildew don’t develop on them.
In the house itself, use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air, which will inhibit the growth of mold or mildew. This is especially true of the basement environment, again because it generally receives less attention than the upper rooms of the household. Ideally, the humidity level in household rooms should be maintained at between 35 and 50%.
Make a point of cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms regularly, using anti-mildew cleaning agents that will prevent any kind of build-up in those rooms.
Dealing with Dust Mites
The bad thing about dust mites is that they are not limited to the fall season, and they can bother allergy sufferers all year round. They thrive in temperatures which are somewhere in the range of 64°F to about 76°F. When the temperature dips below the 60’s or rises above the 70’s, dust mites will usually die off, and the same is true when the relative humidity falls below 70%.
This being the case, one of the most effective things you can do to rid your household of dust mites, is to ensure that the humidity level in the home is well below 70%. Although the temperature of the interior of your household will not be any deterrent to dust mites, the humidity level will be, if you can maintain it well below 70%. Using a dehumidifier, and setting it between 35 and 50% will do the trick, and it will ensure that you’re not bothered by dust mites in the home.
Dealing with Dander and Fur
Almost half of all people who have seasonal allergies also have to deal with pet allergies, which are triggered by your immune system reacting to contact with saliva, for, dander, or urine from your pets. The most effective way of dealing with dander and fur allergies is to simply avoid contact with furry animals.
If this is not feasible for you, you should at least make a point of washing and grooming your pets regularly, and then confining them to specific rooms within the household. Don’t allow your pets on furniture where allergens can be transferred to you when you use that furniture. In the case of cats, make sure to keep litter boxes away from air vents, which will circulate allergens all throughout the home.