As the leaves change and the days and nights get cooler, you may notice one other change: your allergies start acting up again. In addition to sneezing and congestion, your eyes may experience intense itching and redness. Here are some way to manage your symptoms so you can enjoy the cool weather to the fullest extent.
What Causes Allergies?
Allergies are cause when your body’s immune system becomes sensitized and overreacts to a substance that normally causes no harm to most people. An allergic reaction in the eyes occurs when the substance come in contact with the antibodies attached to the mast cells in your eyes. These cells react by releasing histamine and other substances that cause your eyes to itch, turn red, or water.
In the fall, ragweed is the main allergen that people react to. It starts to release its pollen during the warmer temperatures in August, but can continue well into September and October. In those who have spring allergies, there is about a 75% chance they will have a reaction with ragweed. Even those who live outside of areas where ragweed grows can be affected, as the pollen can travel hundreds of miles on the wind.
Mold is another common offender. As leaves start to pile up and get damp, they make a great place for mold spores to land and grow. Another common allergen is dust mites, which are often stirred up the first time the heat is switched on for the season. Going back to school can trigger allergies in children, as dust mites and mold are common in schools.
Manage with Medications
There are several medications that can be used to manage allergy symptoms. For eye relief, an antihistamine can prevent itching and allergy relief eye drops can be used as an additional means of control. Most allergy medications can be purchased without a prescription, but be sure to consult your doctor about which ones you should purchase.
Manage Through Other Ways
While medication can help manage symptoms, avoiding allergens is the most effective way to prevent a reaction.
- Stay indoors and keep windows closed when pollen is at it’s peak, usually late morning to midday.
- Check your local pollen forecast to see what the pollen count is like in your area.
- Before turning your heat on for the first time, change your filter and make sure your vents are clean.
- Avoid using window fans that can blow allergens into your house.
- Install a HEPA filter in your air and/or heating system to effectively remove small allergen particles from you air.
- When raking leaves, wear a mask to prevent inhalation of mold spores.
- Ladies, avoid wearing eye makeup as it can further irritate your already itchy eyes.
- If you wear contacts, they may irritate your eyes further. Consider switching to glasses until your eyes stop itching.
- Avoid heavily scented perfumes or colognes, as they can further irritate eyes.
- After spending time outside, change out any clothing that could have pollen on it and wash it as soon as possible.
Allergies can be a nuisance, but don’t let them stop you from enjoying the season. Use these tips to get them under control.