Despite a record-setting hot summer, you’re excited to be outside in the coming months as fall appears. Except there’s just one problem: you can’t quit sneezing and sniffling every year around this time. What’s causing this, and what can you do to prevent it?
Even though spring is generally associated with allergies, you can also experience the same symptoms in the fall time too. The most common cause for this is ragweed, a flowering plant prevalent in the Eastern and Midwestern states, and that includes North and South Carolina.
Ragweed predominantly blooms and releases pollen from August to November, or more broadly late summer to late fall. While it may not be fall just yet, this pollen can still affect your daily routine as the summer months begin to dwindle down.
Similar to springtime pollen allergies, those who react to ragweed may have symptoms like:
Your best course of action to avoid the sniffling and sneezing that comes from ragweed is to limit your exposure to the allergen. If you are outdoors, a face mask can help reduce the amount of ragweed pollen that reaches your mouth and nose – just be sure to wash your mask often if it’s reusable. Your clothing can also track in this allergen, so change and wash your clothes after coming inside.
Once you’re inside, you can go even further to mitigate your exposure. Closing your windows can help prevent more from coming indoors, while air purifiers and a new air filter for your HVAC can also benefit you greatly. In addition, CEENTA allergy specialist Roy Lewis, MD, recommends rinsing your nose with saline. “You have pollen still in your nose that your body hasn’t recognized yet. Rinse it away with saline as soon as you come inside before it causes symptoms.”
If your preventative measures are not working, the good news is that fall allergies are still treatable with home remedies and habit adjustments. Over-the-counter oral antihistamines are a good first start, followed by topical nasal steroid sprays like Flonase. “Be sure to start Flonase at the latest in July,” Dr. Lewis, elaborates, “as it will take a good three-to-four weeks to be effective."
For headaches or facial swelling, a warm towel intermittently used can provide some relief.
If your ragweed allergies are still causing you to miss out on the great outdoors despite the steps above, it’s time to talk to an allergy specialist. CEENTA’s team of board-certified ENT physicians can recommend additional treatment methods such as immunotherapy. This treatment can be administered in routine shots, tablets, or sublingual drops depending on your schedule and lifestyle.
You can schedule your consultation with Dr. Roy Lewis at our Mooresville location today through our online scheduling platform or your myCEENTAchart account if you are an existing patient.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. If you need an appointment with an allergist in one of our North or South Carolina locations, you can schedule an appointment online, through myCEENTAchart, or by calling 704-295-3000.
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