Fall allergies: Tips to avoid common outdoor triggers


Closets can be scary if you've got dust allergies. But this Halloween, ear, nose and throat specialists say the most frightening fiends are the ones lurking in outdoor decorations.

"If you're a person with bad mold allergies, you probably should spend more time indoors," said Dr. Michael Benninger with the Cleveland Clinic.

Pumpkins, hay bales and cornstalks get people into the fall spirit, but mold allergies can kill all the fun.

Benninger says just as ragweed season is wrapping up, he's seeing signs of mold allergies creeping in.

"As the leaves start to fall, that stuff just sits there, it gets wet and molds grow in them," Benninger explained.

Mold allergies cause the usual host of symptoms like itchy eyes, runny nose, nasal congestion and a decrease in smell. Research has shown these types of allergy symptoms may decrease sexual function too and can cause fatigue from a restless and congested night's sleep.

If you've spent time outdoors, experts say it's a good idea to shower, change and wash your clothes to remove mold spores. Also, if your allergies are making you miserable, Benninger recommends completely avoiding triggers.

"Don't rake your own leaves. Be careful with any kind of vegetables that are rotting. Pumpkins are big at this time, and so are corn and some of the other things," Benninger cautioned.

Remember, showers can also be scary for people with allergies. So make sure none of the excess moisture is accumulating into a moldy threat that'll scare your nose.

If mold allergies are bothering you, Benninger suggests treating them now. He says avoidance and over-the-counter medicines, like non-sedating antihistamines and nasal irrigation, are good places to start. If those don't help, it's time to see an allergist.

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