The Doctor Is In To Help You Survive Fall Allergy Season

As the leaves turn color, some us come down with a case of fall allergies. Dr. Nathan Lebak, an allergist with Aurora Health Care, joined us live on the CBS58 News at 4 to help people get through the season. 

Dr. Lebak says ragweed is the biggest fall allergy trigger, which starts to release pollen on cool nights and warm days. And if you have spring allergies, there about a 75-percent chance you'll also have a reaction to ragweed. Ragweed pollen can actually travel hundreds of miles on wind, so even if ragweed doesn’t grow in your area, you could still be affected.

How can people tell the difference between an allergy and the common cold? Dr. Lebak says that isn't always very easy, since allergy symptoms can include sneezing, itchy nose or throat, nasal congestion, runny noses and coughing, many of the same symptoms of a cold.  But one way to tell is time-- cold symptoms usually build over time, usually don’t last more than 14 days and typically occur in winter months.

Allergies are often managed with over-the-counter drugs, but Dr. Lebak says Aurora Health Care tries to tailor their treatments to a specific patient's needs. Often the best way to fight fall allergies is to limit exposure. A few things can limit your exposure to allergens:

-Before you turn on your furnace for the first time this fall, clean the heating vents and change the furnace filter. Bits of mold and allergens get trapped in the vents over summer and fill the air as soon as you start the furnace.

-Use a HEPA filter to remove pollen, mold and other particles from the air.

-Use a dehumidifier to keep your air between 35-50 percent humidity.

-Wear a mask when you rake leaves so you don’t breathe in mold spores.

-If you do spend a long time outside, Dr. Lebak says a shower when you get back home will help

To find an allergist in your area, go here.

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