Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fall brings an onslaught of allergies

Autumn is the favorite time of the year for many of us. Colorful foliage abounds. Humidity drops. We open our windows to let in the breeze and spend long hours outdoors hiking or raking up the falling leaves. Unfortunately, unseen allergens lurk in the crisp, fry air and all those leaves. Pollen allergies affect nearly 10 percent of our population, approximately 62 million people. They are the fifth ranking chronic disease and cost business and our health care system nearly $8 billion annually. There’s no reason to dread the arrival of autumn, however, if we reduce exposure to pollens and molds, this lessening our symptoms of sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, dry throat, congestion and runny noses, all of which can impair our ability to perform well at school or work. Ragweed pollen is one of the most common reasons for fall allergies. But pollen from other plants, trees, and grass can also trigger symptoms, as can mold. Tips for managing fall allergies: *Leave both house and car windows shut *Remove clothing worn outdoors after raking, hiking or mowing *Remove shoes at the door and go barefoot in the house or wear slippers. *Shower or rinse off exposed skin after being outdoors. *Use a saline nasal wash to remove allergens . *Use a dehumidifier to decrease indoor humidity. *Clean visible mold in showers with diluted bleach solution *Wear a face mask and goggles when doing yard work *Use an antihistamine to reduce or eliminate the effects of histamine. *Drink plenty of water; rehydration effectively eliminates toxins.

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