Fall Allergies- Causes, Symptoms, and Remedies
Did you know that over 50 million Americans suffer from allergies? Or, that it’s the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the United States?  While some people suffer from allergies throughout the year, others only suffer seasonal symptoms in the fall. Here, you can learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of fall allergies.
What Are Allergies?
Everyone comes into contact with allergens. These are substances such as pollens, food, dust mites, and chemicals. For most people, these allergens are completely harmless. However, for some people, it triggers an allergic reaction.
An allergy is when the body’s immune system identifies particular allergens as a threat. This results in the immune system having an inappropriate response. The body will release substances, such as histamine, to tackle the allergens. It is these chemicals that cause the symptoms associated with allergic reactions. 
Why Understanding Fall Allergies Can Change Your Life
If you think you suffer from fall allergies, it is vital to understand this subject. Unless you identify the causes of your allergies, you will continue to suffer.
Identifying the cause is the first step to finding the solution. When you begin to use allergy remedies, your symptoms will reduce, and this has a positive impact on your life.
What Types of Allergies Do People Suffer from in Fall?
Many people who have allergies in the spring and summer also have allergies in the fall. The most common cause of fall allergies is ragweed. It is thought that 75% of people with allergies to spring plants are also allergic to ragweed. 
You do not need to live in an area with ragweed to suffer as its pollen travels hundreds of miles. Therefore, people living in the surrounding area of a town with lots of ragweeds are also affected.
People who are allergic to ragweed commonly have allergies to some fruits and vegetables, too. These include zucchini, melon, and bananas.
Ragweed is not the only cause of fall allergies as mold spores are another trigger. Mold can live in damp areas of your house. In the fall, damp spots can worsen and this leads to more mold spores.
Mold can also live in piles of damp leaves, which you will often find in fall when the trees shed their leaves. This means that you are potentially exposed to mold spores both in your home and in your garden.
A further cause of allergies in the fall is dust mites. In the fall, you may turn on your home’s heating for the first time. This stirs the dust mites that have settled in your home over the summer.
This leads to an increase of dust mites in the air. This can trigger reactions in those who suffer from dust mite allergies.
Common Fall Allergies Symptoms
The symptoms of an allergy can vary from one person to the next. Factors influencing this are the type of allergy, the severity of the allergy, and the quantity of allergens present.
Some common symptoms include a runny nose, coughing, sneezing, watery or itchy eyes, and dark circles below the eyes. Some people may also have skin rashes or wheezing. The severity of these symptoms will usually depend on the level of exposure to allergens.
Tracking Symptoms of Fall Allergies
It is a good idea to keep a diary to track your symptoms. This will help to identify allergy triggers and to avoid the allergens, if possible. It can also help to identify if you have allergies to more than one allergen.
How Are Fall Allergies Diagnosed?
A trip to your doctor is the first step to getting an allergy diagnosis. If you have kept a diary, then take this information with you. When you visit the doctor, they will discuss your medical history with you and talk about your symptoms.
The most common outcome of a doctor’s visit is that they will recommend a skin test. This involves placing a tiny amount of the allergen on your skin. The surface of the skin is then scratched and you will get a raised bump if you have an allergy to the allergen.
In some cases, the doctor may need a blood test to identify or confirm an allergy. In this case, it is likely you will wait a few days for the results of the test.
Fall Allergy Remedies
Once you have a diagnosis of fall allergies, there are many different remedies that a doctor may recommend. The most common of these is to take antihistamines and these usually come in tablet or liquid form. Antihistamines reduce the amount of histamine that your body produces to reduce your allergy symptoms.
Another common fall allergy remedy is a steroid nasal spray. These are usually prescribed for people who are particularly affected by nasal congestion and irritation. A nasal spray reduces the inflammation in the nasal passage.
Decongestants are a further medicinal remedy that can help people whose symptoms include congestion and a runny nose. Like a nasal spray, they will reduce inflammation and dry up the mucus in the nose.
For people who have severe fall allergies, the doctor may recommend immunotherapy. This method of treatment comes in the forms of either oral tablets or allergy shots. This will help to reduce most allergy symptoms.
Home Remedies for Allergies
While remedies prescribed by a doctor are effective in reducing allergy symptoms, this is not your only option. There are also many home remedies for allergies.
Some leaves and herbs are a natural alternative to antihistamines. Two options are nettle leaf and quercetin. Nettle leaf blocks the body’s ability to produce histamine, which is responsible for many allergy symptoms. Quercetin also prevents the release of histamine and works best if you start taking it before allergy season starts.
Nostril cleansing is another natural remedy for fall allergies. You can do this by creating a saline spray to cleanse the nasal passage and reduce inflammation, irritation, and congestion. Similarly, wash your eyes regularly to prevent pollen from settling on your eyelids.
Some studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can fight the inflammation caused by allergies. To reduce inflammation, you should try eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Some foods to include in your diet are salmon, tuna, eggs, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
Eating spicy foods is a simple solution for people with allergy-related nasal congestion. Not only will this clear the nasal passages, it can also reduce sinus pain. Some foods to try are horseradish, chili peppers, hot mustard, and jalapenos.
Probiotics, also known as friendly bacteria, are proven to banish allergy symptoms by reducing inflammation. The simplest way to get probiotics is to eat natural, unsweetened yogurt with your breakfast. If it is not sweet enough for you, add some honey.
Rooibos tea is a red, caffeine-free beverage. It boosts the production of antioxidants to help fight the symptoms of allergy. If you prefer a caffeine boost, both green and black tea will have the same effect.
Other Tips to Manage Symptoms of Fall Allergies
There are many other strategies you can use to prevent and reduce the symptoms of allergies. Taking these simple measures can significantly improve your life during the times of the year you suffer the most.
Start by improving the air quality by reducing the number of allergens. Having a HEPA filter fitted in your heating system and using a dehumidifier are just two simple steps you can take. When out in the garden, wear a mask while raking the leaves to avoid breathing in the mold spores.
Cleaning is also crucial if you are a fall allergy sufferer. Dust around your home to reduce the dust mites and clean out the filters in your heating system before turning it on for the first time. This will remove pollen, dust mites, and mold spores that are trapped in the filters.
While cleaning may aggravate your allergies at the time, it will reduce your symptoms over the following weeks. Therefore, it is worth suffering for a day of cleaning to reduce your allergy symptoms for the rest of the fall.
Checking pollen levels is also a simple measure to take. Most local weather reports include this information. If the pollen counts are high in your local area, stay indoors with the windows and doors closed.
Worst Cities for Fall Allergies
Where you live has a direct impact on the likelihood of you suffering from fall allergies. Most fall allergies are caused by ragweed pollen, so cities with a lot of ragweeds have higher allergy rates. This also impacts on the surrounding area as ragweed pollen can travel long distances when airborne.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), Wichita is the worst city in which allergy sufferers can live. This is because the ragweed pollen levels are highest in this city.
The next two cities on their annual list are Jackson, Mississippi, and Knoxville Tennessee. Other cities in this list are Memphis, Louisville, McAllen, Baton Rouge, and Dayton. 
Fall Allergies or Cold?
Sometimes, people are unsure whether they are suffering from fall allergies or a cold. This is because they share many symptoms. For example, you may suffer from sneezing and a runny or congested nose with both allergies and a cold. However, there are ways you can tell the difference between the two.
People suffering from an allergy will often have itchy and watery eyes. This is not a symptom that is usually associated with a cold.
Colds and flu are caused by viruses, so you may experience a fever and a headache. You will get neither a fever or a headache with an allergic reaction.
The length of time you experience symptoms is also an indicator. Allergies last for as long as you are exposed to an allergen. If the allergen is ragweed pollen, this is a problem for approximately six weeks during fall. A cold or flu rarely lasts for longer than two weeks.
If you are unsure whether you are suffering from a cold or from allergies, then visit the doctor. They will confirm whether you have a fall allergy or a simple cold.
Fall Allergies vs. Spring Allergies
The main difference between fall allergies and spring allergies is the allergens that cause the problem. However, many people who suffer from spring allergies will also suffer from fall allergies.
Fall allergies are usually caused by allergens including ragweed pollen, dust motes, and mold spores. On the other hand, the most common spring allergen is tree pollen.
There are eleven tree pollen types that are associated with spring allergies. These are oak, western red cedar, sycamore, maple, elm, birch, as, hickory, walnut, cypress, and poplar.
Despite the different allergens that cause symptoms in fall and spring, the diagnosis and treatment are the same. You can also use the same steps in your home to reduce symptoms of these different seasonal allergies.
Fall allergies are a common problem that affects many people across the globe. Although the symptoms are unpleasant, there are many ways to reduce or eliminate these. Visiting the doctor for medication, taking measures at home, and using home remedies can all help.
Understanding the cause of your allergy and avoiding contact with allergens can make the fall a less miserable time for you. By reducing your symptoms, your allergies will have less impact on your day-to-day activities.