Florida is the Sunshine State and although many people think we have no seasons, many Floridians look forward to the changes that come with fall – lower humidity, a few pumpkin decorations and longer walks in the park. However, there is one drawback. The small fluctuations in temperature and climate are just enough to cause allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever.
Fall and spring can be tough seasons for allergic patients as plants thrive and grow, rainfall reaches its peak and allergy triggers lurk everywhere – indoors, outdoors, at home and at work. Education and awareness can help people avoid many of the fastidious and potentially dangerous effects of allergies. Be aware of these key Florida allergens:
Ragweed is common throughout the U.S. and its pollen can travel quite far. You do not need to live in the country to suffer from a ragweed allergy; people who live in the city also can be affected. Ragweed season usually begins late summer and can linger through November, peaking in mid-September.
Mold grows in damp and humid environments, indoors and outdoors. The weather plays a major role in the development of mold, which can be dormant and appear when humidity and temperatures are high. Mold spores are airborne and move and spread easily.
Pollen is discharged from the male fertilization part of flowering trees, weeds and grasses. Pollen from plants with bright flowers such as roses are waxy and heavy, usually transported by bees and do not cause allergy symptoms. On the contrary, lighter and drier pollen from plants, trees and low-growing grasses is easily disseminated by winds and often is to blame for hay fever.
Seasonal allergies cause symptoms such as watery and swollen eyes, runny nose, sneezing and itchy throat. In some cases of untreated allergies, they also can lead to asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and trouble breathing. If you suspect or experience any of these symptoms, choose a board certified allergist to get tested, diagnosed and treated.
10 Tips to Prevent Fall Allergies
- Pay attention to the weather. Warm, windy days tend to have more pollen in the air, so staying indoors can help you feel better.
- Read the daily pollen count at www.florida-allergy.com, presented by the Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care, the official South Florida pollen count station, certified by the National Allergy Bureau.
- Plan outside activities for afternoons, when pollen counts usually are lower than any other time of day.
- After spending time outside, clean your hair and change clothing to wash away any allergens.
- Keep your car and house windows closed to prevent allergens from coming in, and run your air conditioner to help clean the air.
- Take allergy medicine early rather than waiting until symptoms kick in.
- Let someone else handle your yard work and stay indoors when it is done since mold can thrive in piles of leaves and cause you to itch and sneeze.
- Remove indoor plants from your home or at least keep them to a minimum, as the soil can be a breeding ground for mold.
- Invest in a good dehumidifier and HEPA air conditioning filters.
- Get immunotherapy or allergy shots if you suspect or experience intensified symptoms. These treatments are planned and administered by an allergist and can produce long-term tolerance.
Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care has 17 convenient locations throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. To schedule an appointment call 1-877-4-ALLERGY or visit florida-allergy.com.