Many of us are breathing a sigh of relief as the heat of the southeast is gradually replaced by the oncoming cool of the fall. But for those of us sensitive to allergens and other airborne irritants, the fight is far from over. While many summer allergens are on their way out, the fall brings another wave of allergens to permeate the cooler air. But don't fear. Prepare for the fight ahead by identifying potential allergy symptoms, then implement these various ways that you can show those allergens the door. Here's how to breathe easy this fall.
Causes of Allergies in the Fall
The first step to breathing easy in the fall is to identify your enemies. The most prominent cause of allergy symptoms in the South is ragweed. A single ragweed plant can produce as much as one billion pollen grains per season, and these plants are all across the country. On a windy day, the breeze can carry light pollen up to 400 miles away from the source plant. In areas of the South where it rarely gets cold enough for a frost, ragweed can pollinate all the way through the winter.
Fending off ragweed pollen isn't the end of your problems, though. If you live in an area with increased rainfall during the winter, there's always the potential for increased mold growth, which can become a problem both inside and outside your home. As always, pets continue to be a cause of allergic and asthmatic reaction throughout the fall.
Now that you know your enemy, let's discuss what you can do to breathe easy with so many potential threats around.
Clean Pets Often
If your pets spend time outside, and especially if they enjoy rolling around in the grass, they could trot back inside with ragweed pollen caught in their fur. From there, you may be directly exposed to it and it can enter the airflow in your home.
Dander is also always a problem for those sensitive to irritants. Cats and dogs have protein in their saliva to which humans are naturally allergic. When they groom themselves, they drench their dry skin (the dander) in this saliva. Dander can be left throughout your home, on your clothes, in your bed, and just about anywhere else you don't want it.
Clean your pets often to wash out some dander and hopefully the majority of the ragweed pollen caught in their fur. Keeping your pet's fur groomed short will also prevent some allergens from getting caught.
Clean Your Home
We're sure you're already on top of this, but this step is arguably the most important. Dirt, dust, ragweed pollen, dander, and other irritants get caught on your floor, in your bed sheets, in drapes, and everywhere else. Pay attention to places you may not often clean, like drapes, windowsills, behind furniture, and anywhere else that may not have seen the light in some time. When cleaning, avoid chemical cleaners or you could just be adding more irritants to the air.
Utilize Your HVAC System
In addition to heating and cooling your home, your HVAC system is also made to maintain your indoor air quality. It can't do everything on its own, however. Every month, air filters need to be changed to keep your system efficiently cleaning the air. If you're unsure how to do this on your own, contact your local HVAC contractor. If your allergies and asthma get bad enough, install a whole-home air purifier, which catches more allergens and destroys them, unlike a filter, which just traps the particles.
In areas where the humidity drops during the winter, it may be worthwhile to install a humidifier. This HVAC upgrade will maintain moisture levels in your home and prevent the air in your home from getting too dry and becoming another allergy and asthma problem.
The fall season is a time for relishing the cool weather and preparing for the holiday season. It's not for struggling to breathe, so take these steps to ensure a comfortable and healthy fall. For professional assistance in maintaining your indoor air quality, contact an AC Southeast contractor near you.