The time of year is upon us when the tomatoes start to shed their bumper crops, pumpkins and apples are in full season, and the leaves start to turn the most amazing shades of yellow, red, and dark orange. There are some of us that fear this change in the environmental landscape because it just leaves us sneezing with itchy and watery eyes and a runny nose.
Folks who suffer from allergies are unable to enjoy seasonal changes in their area and this time of year typically leaves them feeling nothing less than miserable. While there are prescription medications that can help with these issues there are other means one can take to make sure their fall is spent enjoying the changes in the scenery instead of sitting inside unable to do anything.
Let’s start at the beginning
Before we can discuss remedies, it is important to understand what we are fighting. What are allergies? Simply put, when you have an allergic reaction, your body’s immune system is overreacting to something in the air, you ingested, or on your skin. These things are known as allergens.
In the world of fall allergies, allergens specifically refer to dust mites, pollen, and mold. Ragweed is the primary culprit of the seasonal activation of this chronic disease and typically starts its attack in late August. It is also likely that those who suffer from fall allergies typically deal with spring allergies as well.
When these allergens are introduced into our system it creates an antibody by the name of immunoglobulin E, or IgE. The IgE counter attack the allergens and we, the sufferers, have a reaction, which is in the form of a sneeze, a scratchy throat, or a mixture of all the ailments we listed above.
What you can do
If your allergies are severe you have most likely seen your doctor and are on some type of steroid nasal spray or possibly an antihistamine. Yet, there are a few steps you can take if you want to be extra safe or if you feel your allergies aren’t harsh enough for meds, but are annoying enough to take action.
Keep the house clean
This does not refer to the dishes in your sink or the laundry that needs to be done. We mean to keep your house clean of these allergens. Pollen and mold spores are found predominantly in the air but that doesn’t necessarily mean that surfaces are free from them. It is in your best interest to get rid of as many allergens as possible.
There are a great many surfaces in the home that can attract allergens.
Mattresses and other furniture
Your mattress is one of them. Depending on the type of mattress you have, the level of spaces for dust mites, spores and pollen to hide in it vary. Still, if you have an allergy resistant mattress it never hurts to try a mattress protector.
A great way to keep your mattress free from mites and other allergens is to use a vacuum on a regular basis. This goes for every other surface that can be vacuumed in your home. Carpets, furniture, and throw rugs all fall into this category and can be kept free with regular vacuuming.
As much as we like the smell of clothes dried on a clothesline if you suffer from allergies at this time of year don’t hang your clothes outside. If you do plan on bringing a great deal of the pollen that makes you feel horrible into your home.
Shower regularly to keep any pollen or spore off your skin and hair. Specifically, wash off right after you spend time outdoors. Keep you outside shoes limited to outside the home and get yourself a nice pair of slippers or inside-only shoes. This is just one more small way to avoid tracking allergens into your sanctuary.
The air in your home is the biggest culprit of your indoor allergic reactions. Our air is very important to our survival. Even though we recently reported how to boost your oxygen with food, we all know that our oxygen intake is through the air we breathe. It’s time to clean the air in your home.
These devices are a great addition to the sufferers home. Dehumidifiers do the opposite of humidifiers, which is great when we talk about allergies because allergens flourish in humidity. By introducing a dehumidifier into your home, the humidity levels will diminish and attackers like dust mites, mildew, and mold will not be able to grow and reproduce.
They are quiet and efficient and will go virtually unnoticed depending on where you choose to put it in your home. Besides getting rid of the allergens that make fall a dreaded time of year for you or your loved one, dehumidifiers also get rid of odors and lessen the probability of mold and mildew flourishing in your furniture.
When used, these handy machines make the air easier to breathe for the allergy sufferer and the amount of dust in your home is drastically reduced. A bonus is that with less dust in the air you should find a lowered energy bill since your air conditioner will run with more efficiency.
Speaking of air conditioners, this is another way to reduce your allergies when you try to sleep. This will help curtail the amount of pollen floating around your bedroom. For the air conditioner to work its best, the windows must be closed.
Also, make sure you to get filters for your air conditioner that are hypoallergenic and can be changed monthly. When you dispose of them make sure they are in a tight bag so you aren’t adding to the pollen already floating around.
Keep an eye on pollen levels
There is a great deal of websites that will report the pollen levels in your area at any given time. Some will personalize them for you and focus on the allergen that bugs you the most. Is ragweed a trigger for you? Then punch it into the tracker you choose and you’ll get a daily report of the levels when you need them.
If levels are high in your area you might want to stay indoors. Of course, if your allergies are to the point where you can’t leave your house then we suggest getting a medical opinion. There are several pharmaceutical remedies on the market including steroid nasal sprays, antihistamines, decongestants, and immunotherapy. There are also over the counter options but beware of the directions and, if in doubt, consult a medical professional.