Common Fall Allergies Many People With Asthma Experience
I was just chatting with a neighbor about allergies and asthma, and he asked, "What's the worst time of year for you with allergies?" My answer was, "Uhhhh... all year long."
Allergies and asthma are frequently a duo
Around 15% of people in the US have allergies, but not all of them have asthma (lucky!). However, 60% - 80% of people with asthma also have allergies. In fact, for the majority of us who battle asthma, allergies can trigger an asthma attack (or as some people like to call it, an "asthma flare").
Yes, spring is a bad time of year for most people, with flowers and trees blooming. Summer plagues us with grasses and weeds (which is rough if your kids play soccer or baseball on the grass).
Common fall allergies
But fall also has a "little bundle of joy" for those of us who suffer from allergies - ragweed. Did you know that one plant can make up to 1 billion pollen grains. Yep, read it and weep (or read it and sneeze). Although ragweed usually grows in rural areas, it can travel hundreds of miles - literally! Ragweed pollen has been found 400 miles out in the sea, and 2 miles up in the air!1
Chenopods are another "fun" common fall allergy that includes several species, such as russian thistle, pigweed, lamb's quarters, amaranth, kochia and water hemp.2
Mold is another problem in fall as the nights turn cool and moisture collects on the fallen leaves and grass clippings (raking leaves may not be the best idea for those of you with allergies and asthma).
We check our local pollen count daily.3 It can let you know what you are battling each day - especially if you have had allergy testing and know what you are allergic to. All 3 kids of my kids spent years getting allergy shots (immunotherapy), and they can remember what they are allergic to from allergy testing (I'm glad they can remember, because I can't remember which kid is allergic to what).
College-aged daughter will be having a tough time with allergies and asthma, and pull up the pollen count and say, "Ah ha! I knew it! Chenopods! (or ragweed, etc.) That's one of my worst allergies!"
Helpful fall allergy tips
Over the last 19 years, we have found several things that help us during pollen season:
- Kicking off our shoes when we come home (that way we don't track pollen, dirt, fungi and bacteria through the house)
- Keep the windows closed in the house (I know....that nice fall breeze. But the breeze also brings pollen in to cover your couches and beds)
- Keep the windows closed in the car when I commute to work
- Wash the sheets every week (it helps us to assign a day of the week to each person to wash their bedding - otherwise I can't remember who washed their bedding and when)
- Shower before bed (that removes the pollen from your hair and skin)
- Stay on schedule with our allergy meds (since all 5 of us have allergies, we buy allergy meds in bulk from the warehouse store - not kidding!)
- Buy tissues in bulk too (we like the kind with lotion to help prevent out noses from looking like Short Thug from the movie Tangled)
For all of you out there sniffling and sneezing due to common fall allergies, I feel for you! We should start a club and have jackets that say "survived another allergy season."
What is your most severe fall allergy?
Have you experienced a collapsed lung?