The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Loving the cooler temperatures, but not enjoying the fall allergy season? It’s great that many people with COPD now have an opportunity to go outside without worrying about the intense heat, but the beauty and color of fall can go unnoticed if fall allergies keep you indoors.
Allergies affect about 35 million people in the United States and can make life even worse for someone with a chronic lung disease. There are three distinct allergy seasons in the United States. Spring brings tree pollen as Mother Nature unveils another growing season. Summer offers grass growing and the inevitable mowing of the lawns. Then there is fall, which is most notable for ragweed, mold spores and other weeds that wait until later in the year to pollinate.
Here are some common fall things that may trigger allergies or bring on breathing difficulties. Some are obvious and a couple may surprise you.
- Ragweed: Largest contributor to fall allergy problems. Thrives on cool nights and warm days. A single plant may produce a billion grains of pollen and the pollen can travel hundreds of miles.
- Mold spores: Found in moist soil and buried under leaves that fall to the ground. You probably want to avoid raking those leaves (that’s why there are neighborhood kids), because you might stimulate the spores into action.
- Dust mites: You might think of them as a summer problem, but the first time you turn on your heat in the fall you might stir them up in your ventilation system.
- Windy days: A strong breeze can greatly affect air quality. Things that may lay dormant on the ground might become airborne and cause breathing issues. See if you can find an air quality website to check every day.
- Your car: Especially if you park your car outside. All that pollen floating around and leaves falling from trees can come to rest in your car vents. You might want to open your car windows before turning on the car to let allergens escape.
If you already have lung and breathing issues, you may be more susceptible to seasonal allergies. Breathing airborne allergens can greatly complicate your breathing and may send you to the doctor for medical treatment.
It’s no fun dealing with itchy, watery eyes, runny nose and nasal congestion. So, what can you do?
- If you are out in the early morning consider wearing a facemask.
- If you are out during a period of high pollen count, wash exposed areas of your body including your hair. Remove and wash exposed clothing so the allergens don’t spread indoors.
- Try to have leaves removed quickly after they fall (and if you are the one doing the raking, wear a mask).
- Clean or replace your furnace filters frequently and use air conditioning instead of opening windows during high pollen periods.
Consider talking with your doctor about any seasonal allergy problems you might have. You might benefit from prescription medication or increased inhaler use. And, it’s not too early to get a flu shot.
If you or a loved one has COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or another chronic lung disease, contact us at (800) 729-3065 to learn more cellular therapy and what treatment could mean for you.