General Health Thursday October 25, 2012

Reasons why autumn could be causing your allergies

The weather is changing, gradually becoming colder and many of us are mentally preparing to have to deal with cold and flu, however your sneezes and sniffles might be the result of autumn allergies. While for some of us it can be mild relief to leave our summer allergies behind, it might not mean the end of antihistamine-induced drowsiness. According to experts, autumn brings with it it’s own set of allergens ready to attack volatile immune systems.

Knowing a cold from allergies

It’s sometimes easy to confuse allergy symptoms with a cold, which is why people you may not get the right kind of treatment or relief you need. Colds tend to cause sneezes that occur far apart and are unlikely to cause itchy eyes, whereas allergies are more likely to cause sneezing fits, particularly when you come in contact with a particular allergen.

Mucous produced by allergic reactions tends to be clear; whereas mucous produced when you have a cold or another from of respiratory tract infection tends to be green or yellow in colour. However, the most telling sign that you may have autumn allergies is that they are lasting, whereas a cold usually goes away after a week or two.

Things that could be triggering your allergies

There are various things inside and outside the home that could increase your risk of allergies this autumn, these include:

Fallen leaves

One of the most appealing parts of autumn can be the copious amount of fallen leaves on the ground. However rotting leaves on the ground can release spores that can turn into allergens. You may notice that you experience sneezing fits, a runny nose or red eyes similar to how someone would do during times of the year where pollen is more common.

An increase in atmospheric moisture outside also increases the occurrence of mould spores, which can affect the airways and other mucous membranes. Ideally leafy areas where spores can be disturbed and released into the air should be avoided. However, if exposure is unavoidable, such as if you are the one required to clear up fallen leaves, a surgical mask and goggles can be helpful.

Rise in dust mites

The autumnal weather causes many of us to spend more time indoors, which although cosy, exposes us to one of the most common household allergen: the dust

mite. During the colder months dust mite numbers soar. This is because they love the warm dryness supplied by our central heating systems.

Increasing humidity and ensuring that there is enough fresh air circulating can be helpful in keeping their numbers under control. Also ensure that bedding is washed regularly and at a high temperature.

The drop in temperature

A drop in temperature can increase the risk of skin allergies. Urticaria also known as nettle rash, can be triggered by extreme cold and can cause the skin to appear raised and feel itchy. Taking an antihistamine before leaving the house could prevent skin reactions, however it’s better to speak to your doctor about it.

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