What causes fall allergies? Here’s how to alleviate symptoms

Fall allergies are here and impacting Americans across the country.

Around 1 in 4 adults over the age of 18 have seasonal allergies, according to 2021 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The main culprit in the fall for allergies is ragweed,” said Kenneth Mendez, the president and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

“If you have allergies to pollen, there’s a certain amount of pollen that will trigger an immune system response, and that’s allergies,” he explained.

The region you live in can also determine what allergies are present.

“An area of the United States that has more moisture may have more mold allergies during this time,” said Dr. Mark Montano, the medical director at CareNow Urgent Care Clinics.

“Not everybody who has bad allergies in the spring has bad allergies in the fall, so it’s really what you are allergic to,” he said.

Medical costs linked with pollen exceed $3 billion every year, according to the CDC.

So what can you do if you have really bad allergy symptoms, like itchy eyes and a runny nose?

“Make sure you’re taking your nasal steroid. There are a lot of nasal steroids,” Dr. Montano said. Steroid nasal sprays are anti-inflammatory medicines that are sprayed into your nose.

It’s also important to understand what your allergy triggers are.

“If you’re an allergy sufferer, I usually recommend avoiding outside activities early in the morning — that’s when the ragweed tends to be the worst,” Dr. Montano said.

“Watch the weather reports so you understand what the air quality is and what the pollen counts are,” Mendez said.

Managing your indoor air can also help if you spend most of your time indoors.

With other illnesses circulating this fall that have some similar symptoms, including the common cold, RSV and the flu, Dr. Montano recommends staying up to date on your vaccinations.