We love the beautiful colors of fall (although living in Florida doesn’t give us much opportunity to view them). The reds, oranges and yellows of soon-to-be falling leaves accompanied by cooler temperatures are a welcome change of pace.
But while the crisp, colorful fall can be pleasing to the eye, it can wreak havoc on your sinuses.
“The problems especially arise when children play in the fallen leaves or grownups start raking them up,” said Ed Neuzil, PhD, MSN, ARNP, FAANP and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida. “What many don’t know is that when you move the leaves around, you are potentially stirring up pollen and mold spores into the air. When inhaled by asthma and allergy sufferers those airborne pollutants can really cause discomfort.”
Neuzil recommends that you wear a NIOSH rated N95 mask which can be found at home improvement and office supply stores. The mask filters out 95% of airborne particles.
He also points out that fall allergy season can overlap with the start of the cold and flu season. Sometimes understanding what is causing your symptoms can be confusing. Neuzil says “Itchiness and clear draining are sure signs of allergies; if the stuff coming out of your nose is discolored, that’s likely due to a cold.”
He says a fever may be associated with a cold and not allergies. Neuzil recommends going to see a medical practitioner if symptoms persist and to be sure you’re taking the right treatment for what ails you.