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Warmer Temps Extend 2014 Fall Allergy Season

Created Oct 08 2014, 8:00 PM by Lippincott Solutions
  • symptom relief
  • fall allergies
  • pollen
  • prevention

Thursday, October 9, 2014
A look at the 2014 fall allergy season and cities hardest hit.

A combination of high pollen counts, high use of allergy medications and a lack of allergists to treat patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis has earned Louisville, KY, the distinction of ranking the most challenging place in the country to live with fall allergies in 2014.

The city ranked fourth on last year’s list. But earlier this year, it was also named the top 2014 Spring Allergy Capital.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranks cities twice a year to raise awareness of the more than 45 million Americans who live with nasal allergies.

Other 2014 Fall Allergy Capitals

Fall can be particularly challenging due to its high pollen levels, the foundation reports. This year’s warmer temperatures have made 2014 especially hard for people with allergies.

"Ragweed pollen levels are on the rise due to warmer climate temperatures, increased greenhouse gases and a longer fall pollen season," says Clifford Bassett, MD, FACAAI, FAAAAI, medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York. "This may be responsible for more bothersome fall allergy symptoms.

“And as fall brings in cooler weather, we tend to spend more time inside, further exposing us to indoor molds, pet dander and the like."

Following Louisville at the top of the 2014 Fall Allergy Capital list, released Oct. 30, are (in order of rank):

  1. Wichita, KS
  2. Oklahoma City, OK
  3. Dayton, OH
  4. McAllen, TX
  5. Memphis, TN.

People in those cities and elsewhere who are genetically prone to fall allergies may experience a number of symptoms, including:

  • frequent sneezing
  • runny nose
  • congestion
  • watery eyes
  • coughing
  • asthma symptoms (in more severe cases).

How to Stymie Symptoms

To help your patients who are prone to fall allergies breathe a little easier this season, suggest these prevention tips and, when necessary, remedies for symptom management.

First, avoid allergens.

Two of the big causes of most fall allergies are ragweed pollen and mold. To keep exposure to a minimum, patients can:

  • clean heating vents regularly and use a HEPA filter to remove allergens from indoor air.
  • wear a mask and sunglasses when raking leaves or doing other yard work.
  • on high-pollen days, wash their hair—and even their dog—in the evening when they come indoors.
  • check the weather forecast and stay inside on high-pollen days.

Second, seek remedies for symptom relief.

Over-the-counter and prescription remedies can help manage allergy symptoms. Available options include:

  • antihistamines
  • decongestants
  • eye drops
  • nasal sprays
  • nasal irrigation
  • allergy shots or immunotherapy (a longer-term solution).

"The key is,” Bassett explains, “to be proactive and have an allergy action plan to reduce, prevent and manage symptoms more effectively.”