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September 24, 2019

Here's the best way to handle fall allergies

Start your allergy medication before symptoms begin

Prevention Allergies
Fall Allergies Philadelphia Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

To ward off severe reactions to fall allergies, health experts suggest taking allergy medicine before symptoms begin.

Fall is here which means it is time for campfires, haunted hayrides and pumpkin picking. If you suffer from seasonal allergies though, fall might not be your favorite time of year.

High pollen counts and an increase in mold often mean runny noses, itchy eyes and scratchy throats for fall allergy sufferers. 

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Allergies are a lot more common than you probably realize. More than 50 million Americans suffer from various forms of allergies each year, according to The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

What exactly happens in your body when you have allergies?

The immune system of a person with allergies releases chemicals, like histamine, in response to contacting an allergen, according to experts at Penn Medicine. This is why you start sneezing or itching – it is your body’s attempt to expel it.

Having allergies, however, shouldn't force you inside until the first frost. Take these preventive measures so that you can still enjoy all the fun fall activities: 

• To ward off more severe reactions, start your allergy medicine before symptoms begin.

• Avoid outside activities when the pollen count is high. Visit the National Allergy Bureau for information on peak pollen times.

• Take a shower and wash your clothes every time you come indoors to prevent pollen from accumulating inside.

• Be extra vigilant about your weekly cleaning chores, especially dusting and sweeping.

• Prevent mold buildup in your home by fixing leaks as soon as you notice them.

• If you are particularly sensitive to mold, don’t go for a hike or jump in a pile of leaves while everything is damp.

If you are worried that you might have allergies, see an allergist to get tested. The most common methods for identifying particular allergens are a skin prick test and a blood test. For severe allergic reactions, you will need to carry epinephrine with you at all times. If you use it, call 911 and get to a hospital as soon as possible.

Sources include: The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Family Allergy & Asthma and Penn Medicine)

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