Breakdown: Why weather can worsen fall allergies

Why weather can worsen fall allergies

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - In the fall, we think of cooler weather, the color orange and maybe even Halloween--but you may not think of allergies. Most of us attribute allergies to the spring, but did you know that fall can also create big problems for allergy sufferers?

According to experts, the most common fall allergy is ragweed. It’s a weed that produces big amounts of pollen. It can produce approximately a million grains per plant per day. These grains of pollen are so lightweight they can travel up to 400 miles in the wind. Ragweed pollinates through October, but that is location dependent. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, around 10 to 20% of Americans suffer from ragweed allergies.

Another allergen that is unique to the fall is the spores of mold or other fungi. Molds are usually found wherever there is moisture. Outside they can grow on plants, rotting logs and decaying leaves. According to experts mold spores are released in the fall. These spores spread through the air as crops are harvested and when leaves fall from trees to the ground.

Weather can cause an extension in fall allergy season. If the weather is warm and dry for an unusual prolonged period of time in the fall months, this could allow ragweed pollen to linger longer. In places that experience above average rainfall, this may cause mold spores to circulate later into the season.

The way we heat our homes can contribute to our allergies too. Drier air inside can increase dust and pollen. Low humidity inside our homes can dry out mucous membranes and cause inflammation, which can promote allergy symptoms. To help with problems caused by dry air, experts suggest keeping humidity levels of forty to fifty percent.

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