We’re heading into fall allergy season in the Winston-Salem and Piedmont Triad, and for many people that means weeks of itchy, runny nose and eyes, congestion and sneezing. That’s because the months of August through November are prime season for ragweed, the culprit that brings about the dreaded hayfever. Just one ragweed plant can produce one billion grains of pollen. There’s also a rise in leaf mold this time of year as the leaves fall from the trees and create damp piles of decaying matter.

Unlike the spring, when the pollen is clearly visible as a thick coating of yellow dust on our cars, porches and deck chairs, the allergens of fall aren’t as obvious to the naked eye. That’s where allergen trackers can be beneficial. Keeping track of the pollen count and levels of other allergens in the air can help you prepare for your day and feel your best, at work or at play.

Stay abreast of the allergen count downloading an app to your smartphone. Here are a few we like that are available for iPhone or Android.

WebMD Allergy. While this app doesn’t forecast the future, you can get a clear look at the day’s allergen levels as well as the weather. It provides information on levels of mold, dust, tree, grass and ragweed by coun

WeatherBug. This app provides an overall level, such as low, medium or high, with a list of the top allergens. It not only provides today’s level but also forecasts the next day. In addition to allergen levels there are a lot of great weather features on this app. And we all know the weather plays a factor in allergen levels, as the effects are worse on hot, dry days!

Allergy Alert. Created by Pollen.com, this app provides 5-day allergen forecasts for a variety of different allergens, as well as a symptom tracker to log your conditions.

Tips for High Allergy Days

When the pollen and mold is at its worst, what are you to do? You can’t stay indoors all day and be a hermit. Here are a few tips to help you feel better.

– Avoid going outside in the morning. The pollen releases at dawn and starts distributing through the air, so the best time for outdoor activities is late afternoon or early evening.
– Keep your windows closed in your home and your car. It might be tempting to let that fresh air in, but you’re also letting in a variety of allergens. Let your HVAC system keep the climate comfortable — your nose will thank you.
– Avoid raking or mowing if you suffer from allergies. Share the household chores with another member of the family, or if you absolutely have to get out and work, wear a mask to cut down on the amount of allergens you’re breathing in.
– Clean the pollen off. If you’ve been outside during high allergen days, be sure to take a shower and wash your hair, especially before going to bed. This will help reduce the amount of allergens in your home and bed, where you need clean air to sleep well.
– Take your medications as prescribed. It might be tempting to skip a day of the nose spray or wait to take your allergy medicine because you’re not experiencing symptoms at the time, but it’s important to stick to the prescribed schedule in order to keep symptoms at bay.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, our doctors at Piedmont Ear, Nose & Throat Associates can help. Call today for a consultation to ease your symptoms and help you enjoy fall in the Carolinas!

Questions? Call us today at (336) 768-3361 to schedule an appointment.