Three ways to stay ahead of Fall allergies

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It’s easy to think of allergies as a Spring problem, but allergies can happen in the Fall too. As the weather changes, we can expect a spike in fall allergens, causing symptoms like itchy eyes, sneezing, cough, and a stuffy nose. Dr. Dylan Wyatt, Emergency Medicine Physician at St. Luke’s, has three tips to stay ahead of the Fall allergies.

Tip No. 1: Avoidance

The culprit during the fall is generally ragweed pollen and fungal spores. Spring allergies are usually pollen from trees and grasses. It helps to know what you are allergic to so you can avoid them. Brandon Weatherz has an allergy report that will let you know when specific allergies are present. You will then know to consider staying indoors and to close your windows If you’ve been outside, make sure to wash your hands and avoid touching your face while outside.

Tip No. 2: Regular cleaning

Pollen and spores can fall on surfaces too which is why to remember to wash your sheets with hot water. Cleaning regularly and vacuuming will help with other surfaces in your home.

Tip No. 3: Be ready with the over the counter medication

Dr. Dylan recommends nasal steroids as the first line of defense. It would provide localized relief. These come in a spray form that can be found at any pharmacy – think brands like and Flonase. They reduce inflammation in the nose and block allergic reactions, and they act pretty quickly. If you are pregnant or nursing, you should talk with your OB/GYN before you using them, same for the other recommended medications.

If nasal steroids don’t do it, Dr. Dylan recommends adding an antihistamine, like Zyrtec or Claritin- specifically one that is non drowsy. These have more of a system-wide effect.

The last line of defense is a decongestant, which can come as spray and a pill, such as Afrin and Sudafed. Their effects are very potent that can lead to a rebound. or symptoms after you stop using them.

Even though these are over the counter, it’s recommended to discuss medications with your doctor.