6 Worst Fall Allergy Triggers--And How to Avoid Them

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Elizabeth Hanes, RN on August 5, 2021
  • man-smiling-outdoors-on-autumn-day
    How to Keep Autumn Allergy Symptoms Under Control
    You survived the spring allergy season and find yourself feeling great as summer rolls on. Then, boom! Autumn hits—and with it a new round of seasonal allergies due largely to mold and ragweed pollen. But those aren’t the only two fall allergy triggers that might cause you to experience itchy eyes, a runny nose, or a scratchy throat. Learn about common and lesser-known fall allergy triggers and how to avoid them to keep symptoms at bay.
  • Unseen Caucasian woman holding ragweed plant in hand
    1. Ragweed Pollen
    Ragweed surges in the fall, spewing pollen into the air and causing classic nasal allergy symptoms like itchy eyes, scratchy throat, and sneezing. And while you can’t entirely avoid ragweed pollen, you can take steps to reduce your exposure. Keep your doors and windows closed. Use refrigerated air conditioning, if possible, instead of an evaporative cooler. And wear a NIOSH-95 rated face mask to prevent inhaling pollen when doing outdoor chores. Your respiratory system will thank you.
  • Home Interior Mold
    2. Mold
    If you live in an area that experiences wet, muggy summers, be wary of mold spores in the fall. Mold that has bloomed in damp areas of your house—and mold that has grown outdoors—can trigger bouts of sneezing and runny nose. To avoid mold exposure, use mold-killing cleaning products to eliminate growth from common locations like basements or inside bathroom cabinets. Keep these areas dry by using dehumidifiers during the summer or by tucking packets of moisture-absorbing granules into mold-prone areas. Outside, wear a face mask when performing tasks like cleaning the gutters, where outdoor mold may have grown.
  • senior-woman-sitting-outside
    3. Unseasonable Heat
    You may want to bask in any lingering summer days that extend into autumn, but that warm air might extend the pollen season and trigger fall allergy symptoms. Still, you shouldn’t have to give up the last days of summer just to avoid a runny nose. To keep symptoms at bay, avoid going outdoors in the morning, when the pollen count usually peaks. You can enjoy the late-summer sun at dusk, instead. Also try to avoid chores like mowing the grass and raking leaves, both of which can stir up pollen and mold spores.
  • Fun times at recess
    4. School Allergens
    As kids head back to school, they may come home with allergy symptoms due to exposure to various cleaning products, classroom pets, and even chalk dust. Of course, you can’t keep your children home from school to avoid these fall allergy triggers, but you can take other steps. Make sure children understand how to use allergy medications or asthma inhalers, and be sure the school is aware of your child’s allergy or asthma history.
  • Gay male couple with young daughter and dog sitting on balcony
    5. Pets
    You may already realize pet dander can trigger allergy symptoms like sneezing and a runny nose. But did you realize your pet may make your fall allergies worse? Dogs and cats that play outside can collect ragweed pollen on their fur and bring it into your home. Once inside, that pollen can easily disperse into the air and cause misery for anyone with fall allergies. To avoid this, be sure to wipe down your pet with a damp towel before allowing it back indoors after it’s been outside.
  • Man vacuuming home
    6. Dust Mites
    As the outdoor living season comes to a close in autumn, you may find yourself spending more time indoors—in closer proximity to dust mites. These tiny creatures live in all kinds of upholstery, from your mattress to the living room sofa, and can cause allergy symptoms year-round. To avoid making your fall allergies worse due to dust mite exposure, take time in late summer to thoroughly vacuum all upholstery and carpeting, wash your bedding at least weekly in hot water, or even enclose your mattress in a mite-proof cover.
6 Worst Fall Allergies Triggers | How to Avoid Fall Allergy Symptoms

About The Author

As “the nurse who knows content,” Elizabeth Hanes, RN, works with national and regional healthcare systems, brands, agencies and publishers to produce all types of consumer-facing content. Formerly a perioperative and cosmetic surgery nurse, Elizabeth today uses her nursing knowledge to inform her writing on a wide variety of medical, health and wellness topics.
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  4. Four Things You Might Not Know about Fall Allergies. American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. https://acaai.org/news/four-things-you-might-not-know-about-fall-allergies
  5. Fighting Fall Allergies? Bring It! American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. https://acaai.org/news/fighting-fall-allergies-bring-it
  6. Dust Mite Allergy. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. https://www.aafa.org/dust-mite-allergy/
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Last Review Date: 2021 Aug 5
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.