Did You know…….?
The Fall and the Holidays can trigger allergy symptoms and, if not well controlled, may exacerbate asthma. Allergy symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy and runny nose, and itchiness in your nose, throat, eyes or ears can come on suddenly and may be mild or severe.
What causes these symptoms?
An allergic reaction begins when the immune system mistakes an otherwise harmless substance as an invader and overreacts by producing Immunoglobulin E antibodies. When exposed to allergens in the environment the antibodies stimulate cells to release histamine and other chemicals, causing allergy symptoms.
What allergens are present in the Fall?
Ragweed pollen and molds are common Fall allergens. Mild temperatures along with rain can promote plant and pollen growth, while wind accompanying rainfall can stir pollen and mold into the air, heightening symptoms for fall allergy sufferers. Mold spores can be released when humidity is high or weather is dry and windy.
What allergens are present during the Holidays?
Holiday decorations may have gathered dust or mold while in storage. Dust mites are microscopic allergens that live indoors all year and are found in bedding, carpets and furniture but may increase when the air gets damp. Their droppings cause allergy symptoms in allergic individuals.
Mold spores are present on damp evergreens likes wreaths, boughs, and trees that are brought inside during the holidays. The mold and mildew in decaying leaves can be tracked inside on shoes and clothing.
Pet allergies may be worse around the holidays when pets spend more time indoors at your house or in the homes you visit.
What else can trigger Allergies and Asthma?
- Irritants such as strong odors or fumes, smoke from wood burning outdoors or in a fireplace, tobacco smoke, and pollution
- Emotional stress and anxiety can stimulate your immune system to release inflammatory chemicals
- Exposure to cold, dry air or weather changes
- Viral and bacterial infections such as the common cold and sinusitis can trigger asthma
What can I do to control my exposure to indoor and outdoor allergens?
- Wash bedding in hot water once a week, use allergen-resistant covers for pillows and mattresses
- Avoid moisture, keep indoor humidity levels below 50%
- Wash your hands and face after contact with allergens
- Don’t wear shoes in your house or bedroom – the soles can attract pollen and be brought indoors
- Clean your room - keep floors swept and carpets vacuumed
- If traveling, take your own pillow with an allergen-proof cover or request a down-free pillow if staying elsewhere
- Wipe down holiday decorations before putting them out and store them in dry containers after use
- Keep windows closed during pollen season
- Take a shower, wash your hair and change clothing after spending time outdoors
- Recognize stressors and plan how to decrease and cope with such stressors
- Take your allergy and asthma medication as prescribed
- See a health care provider at the SHACC or your allergist before symptoms become unmanageable