Gesundheit! Tips for Surviving Fall Allergies

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Sniffles got you down? You’re not alone. Even though winter is on the horizon, many in the area are suffering from fall allergies. We asked Dr. Alison Lynch of Renown Medical Group how to find some relief.

It’s fall in northern Nevada and while our weather is cooling off, many of us may be suffering from fall allergies. Alison Lynch, MD, of Renown Medical Group, outlines the differences between fall allergies and the common cold and how to alleviate allergy symptoms.

How common are fall allergies?

Ragweed is the biggest allergy trigger in the fall — it usually starts in August and can last through October. About 75 percent of people allergic to spring plants also have reactions to ragweed, which can even be carried on fruits and vegetables.

Mold and dust mites are other common fall allergy triggers. Mold can be more common as temperatures cool down and we see some stormy weather. Piles of damp leaves are also potential breeding grounds for mold.

And inside, dust mites are common as you turn on your heater for the first time. So be sure to clean your filters before cranking up the heat.

How can people tell the difference between allergies and a cold?

Differentiating between fall allergies and colds can be tricky. Here are some things to watch for:

  • With allergies, your throat will feel itchier. With a cold it will be sore and painful.
  • With a cold, symptoms are progressive. So you may start with a sore throat that turns into a runny or stuffy nose and then a cough. But after a few days, a cold will run its course, whereas allergies likely won’t quit without treatment or weather changes.
  • You may see a cough with your cold, but allergies usually produce more sneezing and wheezing.
  • Allergies typically pop up almost out of nowhere, while colds typically progress with symptoms getting worse over a few days.

How can you prevent allergies?

There are a number of little things you can do to help relieve and prevent allergies all year:

  • Keep your windows closed and use the air conditioning at home, in the office and in the car.
  • If you find yourself especially susceptible, change clothes and shower after work, school or going outside.
  • Avoid yard work as raking leaves and mowing the grass can increase pollen.
  • Stay inside when it gets windy.
  • Exercise in the morning before the wind picks up.

When should someone go to their care provider for allergies?

Keep in mind allergy medications work best when taken before allergy season starts, so you may not see a ton of relief at the start. If nasal sprays and washes and over-the-counter medicines don’t help, reach out to your doctor for help. This is especially important with fall allergies, because if you get a cold on top of allergies it can lead to chronic sinus problems.

If you need to see a provider, schedule an appointment online at renown.org/find/physician. 

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