10/16/02 - Fall Allergy Season in Full Swing

If you're not dealing with a case of the sniffles or a scratchy throat, there's a good chance you know someone who's sick. It's probably not the common cold you're fighting, it's more than likely fall allergies. If you only thought that allergies are in the spring, think again. Allergies can strike any time of the year, and fall allergies can be the worst.
Natalie Trankler's allergies started when she was 11. Now, four years later, after surgery and taking a lot of different medications, she's still having problems. "It makes me tired, a little irritable and I'm not very friendly to be around," Natalie says. "I have stuffy nose, itchy eyes, burning, runny eyes." Like many other people, Natalie's allergies kick into high gear this time of year. Dr. Anthony Keele says, "Some people have allergies that are seasonal, some have perennial, which last all year, and some have a mixture of both."
Ragweed is a common fall allergy, and may be the cause of your sneezing and sniffling, different grasses and trees may also be to blame. But it's not just the outdoors you need to worry about. Turning on your heater for the first time can release dust mites and stir things up. Dr. Keele says how long you're feeling bad can help you determine if you have allergies, or just the common cold. Colds usually last only a few days. "Allergies can be chronic, go on several weeks and last several years," Dr. Keele says. With colds, you feel achy. When you have allergies, you don't feel sick, you feel itchy instead. Colds also create a thick mucus in your nose. Allergies create a thin mucus. Here are some tips on how you can avoid allergies. Try to stay inside early mornings, that's when pollen counts are at they're highest. Clean your house regularly to get rid of the dust. And avoid damp places, like basements, that can collect mold.
There are a lot of over the counter medications to take for allergies, but talk to your doctor about which ones are best for you.