Fall is a beautiful time of the year. The trees turn all kinds of colors and the temperature begins to cool. What is not so beautiful is the sneezing, coughing, and other symptoms that fall allergies bring. In this guide, we’ll share what the most common allergens are, how to treat them and how you can get notified when allergy levels are high.
In Virginia, there are a few common allergens that tend to cause symptoms. They are pollen, grasses, chenopods, and ragweed. Ragweed is the most common culprit for fall allergies. This plant blooms and releases its pollen from August to November. Ragweed pollen levels are highest around mid-September and tend to fade out by mid-November.
Grasses tend to cause symptoms right before and at the beginning of the fall season. Grass pollen is a potent allergen and will make June through early September tough for those susceptible to it.
Treating Allergy Symptoms
Itchy irritated eyes, sneezing, coughing, and headaches due to allergies can be a huge annoyance. If you notice your child is showing some or all of the common allergy symptoms around the same time each year, they may be suffering from allergies. See if this is the case by reducing their exposure. This can be accomplished by closing the windows on high allergy days, using the air conditioner, and encouraging your child to change clothes, wash their hands, and even shower after playing outside. Also, a simple saline nasal spray can help flush out allergens and reduce congestion caused by allergies.
If symptoms are still difficult to manage after reducing exposure, talk to your pediatric provider for an assessment and they will provide guidance on treatment. The most common treatments include oral, nasal, and ocular antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays. If these medications do not help, it would be recommended to see an allergist who can determine if allergy shots are a potential solution.
Receiving Allergy Alerts
If your child suffers from allergies, getting notified when pollen counts are high can help inform you when it’s best to reduce their exposure. Pollen is highest during warm, dry, and windy days. When there is less moisture in the air to weigh down allergens, they are able to travel further and with greater ease.
Here are a couple of free apps to help notify you of higher pollen days:
- Allergy Alert
- Zyrtec AllergyCast
- My Pollen Forecast
- The Weather Channel
Sources: Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Greater Washington, Virginia Ear Nose and Throat, Everyday Health, Children’s Hospital of Phildephia, Nemours Kids Health