As the leaves begin to fall and the pumpkin harvest begins, allergy sufferers face a whole new and different set of challenges. Fall allergies have different causes and different situations that can be easily dealt with, just in a slightly different manner than spring allergies.
Fall Allergies and Hay Fever – Not Just for Horses Anymore
“Hay Fever” is a term from years past that was used to describe the general symptoms of late summer and fall allergies. While it has nothing to do with hay specifically, these allergies often coincided with the beginning of the harvest and hay-making season. The actual condition is referred to by the medical community as “allergic rhinitis”, and includes symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose, itchy eyes or mouth, sneezing, congestion and fatigue.
The causes of allergic rhinitis basically fall into three major categories: outdoor allergens, indoor allergens, and irritants. Outdoor allergens include things like tree and plant pollen. In our area, Ragweed is a notorious hay fever trigger, as it begins to pollenate in August and can continue to do so until the first frost of the season.
Indoor allergens encompass things like pet hair and dander, dust mites, and mold spores. Lingering warm weather in the fall can cause the symptoms of fall allergies to last longer. Mold spores can be released when the humidity is high, OR when the air is dry and windy.
Irritants, such as cigarette smoke, perfume, or diesel exhaust aren’t really a seasonal thing, but also contribute to the pesky symptoms of hay fever.
There’s not much you can do to effect the level of allergens and pollutants outside, but there are steps you can take to reduce your exposure to these irritants. Staying indoors when pollen counts are at their peak is always a good idea for allergy sufferers. Wearing sunglasses or glasses when you’re outside can help keep pollen out of your eyes. Avoid hanging clothing or linens on an outside laundry line, as pollen can cling to the fabric as it dries.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends that allergy sufferers use a NIOSH rated N95 mask when raking leaves or doing yardwork in the fall months. Using your air conditioning when in the car can help filter the air and reduce the level of airborne contaminants.
Indoor Air Quality
There are a lot more steps you can take to improve the air quality inside your home, and reduce the contaminants that contribute to fall allergy symptoms. Just like in the car, running your air conditioning can reduce the amount of airborne contaminants. Simple steps like installing a UV light in your air handling system can reduce these contaminants even further. These UV lights, combined with keeping the humidity low, also help to limit mold growth. Remember to replace the air filters in your duct work every three months to help improve indoor air quality.
Washing your bedding frequently with very hot water will help control dust mites. Using a “mite proof” bedding cover can also help reduce these pesky critters.
If you have pets AND allergies, make sure you wash your hands after petting your animal. It’s also best to let a non-allergic family member handle your pets grooming, preferably in a well ventilated area. Using a damp mop to clean floors and replacing carpeting with hardwood, tile or linoleum will also help with pet dander build up.
How 7 Oil Company Can Help
If you’re looking to take bigger steps towards improving indoor air quality, look no further than 7 Oil Company. We offer a full range of indoor air quality solutions. Whole home humidifiers, HVAC UV light installation, and electronic air purifier installation. Not only can we keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer, we can help you breathe easier all year round.
For more information, call one of our knowledgeable representatives at 856-786-0707, or send us an email.