6 Fall Allergy Fixes

6 Fall Allergy Fixes

Beat pollen, ragweed, mold and other allergens with these proven tips.

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By Beth Ward

The crisp bite of the fall air means scarves, sweaters and playing in big piles of leaves. But thanks to those leaves—and other allergens such as ragweed and mold—fall can also signal another round of watery, swollen eyes, sniffling and sneezing.  

A warm summer can mean more runny noses in autumn, says allergist Stacy Silvers, MD, of Medical City Dallas in Dallas, Texas, because it encourages pollen-producing plants to grow more. “The amount of rain we get in the spring also impacts the fall allergy season, especially in terms of ragweed—the most common fall allergen,” she adds.

Allergy symptoms

2 / 8 Allergy symptoms

Aside from itchy eyes and a runny nose, fall allergies can also lead to an itchy throat, itching inside the nose, swollen eyelids or hives. Fatigue and irritability are possible reactions, as well. Severe ragweed allergies may trigger asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and tightness in the chest.

Luckily, fall allergies don’t mean you have to skip your favorite fall festivities. These quick tips can help you get a handle on your symptoms.


Skip out on yard work

3 / 8 Skip out on yard work

If you have fall allergies, it may be worth it to pay a neighborhood kid to handle yard work. Big piles of leaves and mulch are breeding grounds for mold, especially when it’s damp outside, says Dr. Silvers, so raking and mowing may aggravate allergy symptoms.

Move your daily workouts to the evenings

4 / 8 Move your daily workouts to the evenings

Going for an afternoon jog isn’t the best idea if you’re dealing with allergy symptoms. Pollen counts are highest between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and exposing yourself during those times can trigger the uncomfortable itching, swelling and runny nose commonly seen with fall allergies. Opt for an evening workout instead, when pollen counts are low.

Give your home an allergy-free makeover

5 / 8 Give your home an allergy-free makeover

With the weather turning, you’ll probably be spending more time in your house. Try these fall cleaning tips to get rid of your indoor allergens.

  • Invest in a dehumidifier, especially for damp areas like the basement. This can help prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
  • To reduce dust mites, change out your air filter before cranking up the heat for the first time. Frequently washing blankets and bedding is another way to keep these allergy-inducing pests at bay.
  • Close windows and doors, even on those nice fall days, to keep outdoor allergens from getting in the house.
Wash away allergens

6 / 8 Wash away allergens

A hot shower will rinse off pollen and other allergens from your skin and hair, and a quick trip through the wash will help eliminate them from your clothes, explains Silvers. It’s also a good idea to wash your hands throughout the day; this will help keep pollen away from your nose and mouth when you touch your face. 

Try a nasal rinse

7 / 8 Try a nasal rinse

“I’m a fan of sprays or rinses like the neti pot,” says Silvers. “Using them at the end of the day when you’re done being outdoors can help remove some of the pollen from the nose.”

These rinses flush the nasal passages with warm water or a saline solution, washing away dust, pollen and other allergens. Talk to your doctor before trying the neti pot—overuse could potentially irritate the mucus membranes in the nose. And remember to read its instructions for use and care, as it varies by manufacturer.

Manage allergies with meds

8 / 8 Manage allergies with meds

There are many effective over-the-counter medications available for allergy sufferers. “I recommend Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra,” Silvers says. A nasal spray like Flonase or Nasacort is another option, but you’ll have to use it every day to get the best results.

For people who want to steer clear of medication, Silvers recommends allergy shots to build the body’s tolerance for certain allergens over time. The effects can last from years to up to a decade or more, depending on the person. 



About one out of five Americans suffers from allergies. An allergy is an exaggerated response from the immune system to a substance such as dust, pollen, pet dander or mold. Other common triggers include foods such as peanuts and ...

milk; insect bites; and certain ingredients in cosmetics and jewelry. Allergies can cause anything from rashes and hives to itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, and wheezing.