Why is my asthma worse in fall?

After awhile, we pick up patterns about our asthma, and notice how our asthma changes as the seasons do. For me, Fall is probably among my better seasons, free of the dry cold of Manitoba Winters and the humidity, heat and lingering Spring dust in the Summer. For others, though, Fall can be a hard time with asthma. Here are some things to consider if you feel your asthma worsening this Fall.

  • Allergic Rhinitis/Hay fever can begin as early as late August, and last until the frost comes 1. “Hay fever” simply is a term for allergic rhinitis, which can cause increased mucus in your sinuses—some of us have allergic rhinitis year-round (known as perennial, and most often triggered by dust mites, animal dander, mould, or cockroaches—my dust allergy puts me in this category), while others may have it just in certain seasons, like the Fall, when mould or grass pollen are about at their peak 2. In some people, sinus problems like allergic rhinitis can make your asthma worse. An allergist or ENT (ear, nose and throat specialist, or otolaryngologist!) may be able to help—or at least, like in my case, tell you that your sinus problems aren’t making your asthma worse. Allergic rhinitis can also cause symptoms like itchy sinuses or eyes, watery eyes and itching of the skin and mouth 2.
  • Mould allergies can trigger not only symptoms of allergic rhinitis but also trigger your asthma. Avoidance is easier said than done, but decreasing the amount of time you spend outdoors in the Fall can help if you have an allergy to mould that pops up as the dampness of fall takes over. This can be doubly difficult if you also are allergic to pollens that are prevalent in the Fall1.
  • Fall pollens such as ragweed, goldenrod, sagebrush, and many more that may be specific to your area, can trigger allergies. It may be tough to figure out what you’re allergic to without allergy tests—as noted on Everyday Health, “Goldenrod blooms at the same time that ragweed does,” meaning… do you really know if you are allergic to one or the other?3. An allergy test can tell you for sure.
  • Back to school, back to germs Just because you or your family isn’t going back to school, doesn’t mean that the re-entry of children into school doesn’t impact all of us. Kids go to school, catch the cold that some other kid had, and bring that virus home to their family. Then, we share public spaces with all of these people—so, even if you’re not in direct contact with kids… You could be in direct contact with their germs! Be diligent in Fall to avoid this trigger that might worsen your asthma, and encourage your kids with—or without—asthma to do the same.

So, while the cooler temperatures may improve asthma for some, it’s certainly not an easy time for everybody. Remember, as well, to start thinking about getting your flu shot. Winter is right around the corner… (Sorry!)

Do you know of anything else that causes your own asthma to be worse in the fall? Share with our community below—it could be the mystery another member is trying to solve!

1 – http://www.4seasonsofasthma.ca/fall_intro.php
2 – http://acaai.org/allergies/types/hay-fever-rhinitis
3 – http://www.everydayhealth.com/year-round-allergies/most-common-fall-allergies.aspx

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
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