Pumpkins, Falling Leaves, Football, and…Allergies

 What causes fall allergies and how to still enjoy the season.

The cooler temperatures of fall are always a welcome relief after the heat of summer. The decorations, changing leaves, and football games make fall a favorite season for many people. But millions of others dread this time of year due to the unpleasant allergies that come with the changing leaf colors.

Until the first frost sets in, ragweed, goldenrod, lamb’s quarters, curly dock, sagebrush, pigweed, and outdoor mold are the main culprits for fall allergies. The body’s immune system mistakenly attacks these harmless invaders, which results in an increase in the production of histamine, the substance responsible for hay fever symptoms: congestion; sneezing; coughing; itchy nose, eyes, and throat; runny nose; and asthma attacks.

Check out this list of simple strategies that a personal trainer in Arlington provided to help you limit your exposure to fall allergens, so you can feel your best this season.

Keep the Pollen Outdoors

While you may be tempted to open the windows and let cool, fresh air in your home or car, don’t. This time of year, the air is filled with pollen and mold spores that are best left outside. Run your air-conditioner to lower indoor temperatures and to reduce the humidity in your home so mold doesn’t have a chance to grow.

Those who suffer from severe allergies may benefit from HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) air filter running in each room, especially rooms with carpet or where you spend the majority of your time. HEPA air filters in return vents and a HEPA vacuum cleaner may also help reduce allergy symptoms.

Another way to keep pollen out of your home is to take a shower and wash your clothes after being outside for an extended amount of time. Don’t forget about the pollen that your pets bring in from outside. Try to keep cats indoors and bathe your dogs frequently through the fall season.

Cover Your Face

When you have to be outdoors to do yard work or fix the car, protect yourself from pollen by wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose. Pharmacies and home repair stores should have these on hand. You may look funny wearing it, but at least your hay fever symptoms won’t flare as badly.

Rinse Your Nasal Passages

Also known as nasal douching, this home remedy for hay fever uses a salt-water solution to wash pollen and mucous out of your nose. To administer, Arlington fitness center suggests that you mix half a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon baking soda with one cup of distilled water at room temperature or buy saline solution at the pharmacy. Squirt this solution into your nose with a rubber ear syringe or with a special pot you can purchase for this purpose. The water runs through your nasal passages and makes its way out your mouth. Those who’ve tried this remedy claim it’s helpful at reducing hay fever symptoms. Keep in mind this isn’t the same as spraying an antihistamine up each nostril.

Over-the-Counter Medication

When you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to bring relief, it’s time to find an over-the-counter antihistamine, decongestant, or a combination that works for you. The fitness professionals at Arlington Fit Body Bootcamp suggest that you talk with your doctor before taking a decongestant if you have high blood pressure. A steroid nasal spray is another option that may relieve symptoms.

The sooner you start treatment, the better. So if you know you’ll be outside over the weekend, begin taking an antihistamine a few days before or watch pollen counts in your area and when they start to rise, go ahead and take your medication. This will reduce the severity and duration of your symptoms.

No Escape. Avoiding exposure to ragweed pollen is nearly impossible. One ragweed plant releases a billion pollen grains into the air during a single fall season.

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