Though the cooler weather is welcomed, the foliage is changing and weeds and other plants release pollen that can send allergy sufferers indoors.
While almost 40 million Americans suffer from allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, and there is no cure, allergies can be managed with proper prevention and treatment.
Ragweed pollen is one of the most common triggers for fall allergy symptoms.
Ragweed pollen can cause oral allergy syndrome (OAS). In OAS, you may experience itching in the mouth and throat, along with mild swelling, after you consume fresh fruits and vegetables such as banana, cucumber, melon and zucchini. This syndrome occurs because proteins in the ragweed pollen and certain fruits or vegetables are similar in structure; therefore, your body has the same reaction to both the ragweed pollen and the food.
In addition to ragweed pollen, pollen from other plants, trees and grass can set off allergies in the fall. Mold can grow under leaves that have fallen and this can lead to a reaction, too.

Fall Allergy Symptoms
• Skin – hives; dry, itchy skin; eczema
• Lungs – wheezing and asthma
• Eyes and nose – watery, itchy eyes; clear, runny mucus; sneezing
• Mouth – itching in the back of the throat; upset stomach; diarrhea; and, in extreme cases, anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction)

Controlling Fall Allergies
• Check pollen levels. If you live in a high pollen zone, limit your time outdoors on high pollen count days.
• Limit yard work. Have someone who is not allergic rake the leaves and mow the lawn, or wear a facemask and goggles if you must do it yourself.
• Don’t hang clothes outdoors to dry. Wet laundry attracts pollen that will eventually end up indoors.
• Stay clean. Minimize allergen exposure by washing pollens off your skin and hair after spending time outside. You should also change your shoes before entering the house and change clothes inside the front door.
• Use a dehumidifier. Because dust mites and molds flourish in a humid environment, using a dehumidifier to remove some of the humidity from the air inside your home will help reduce indoor allergy symptoms.
• Use hypoallergenic filters. Change your air conditioner filters monthly, using HEPA filters, if possible. Always place the used filter in a plastic garbage bag, then dispose of the bag outdoors.
• Use the air conditioner at night. To keep your bedroom clean and pollen free, close the windows and turn on the air conditioning.
• Take an over-the-counter antihistamine. This is an effective step, and fortunately, many OTC allergy drugs are now non-drowsy, long-lasting and effective.
If seasonal allergy symptoms interfere with your daily life, visit your doctor, an ENT (ear, nose and throat specialist) or an  allergist who can correctly diagnose your allergy and recommend ways to manage it.
Marsha Taylor, MD practices at Nortwest Primary Care in Springdale, Ark.


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