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Sneezing in the Fall...Let's Work on that.

See Perry from American HVAC Checking my filter and see a new one versus an old one that should have been changed before.

It is the fall and as we head into winter you may not think of allergens but they are indeed thinking of you. Most people who suffer from Hay fever or Seasonal allergies will forget to take this time of year seriously; they usually only think of spring with pollens. So here is a small list of allergens that exist this time of year and how they make us feel:

1. Dust

2. Mold

3. Smoke -especially in California since we have had fires for quite a few summers

4. Ragweed

5. Tumble weed

6. Sage brush

7. Pig Weed

8. Russian Thistle

9. Lamb’s-quarters

Many of these plants dry out over the summer then release their seeds and pollen as the nights turn cold causing a huge spike in allergies for many people.

Of course, symptoms for hay fever whether in the spring or fall will look very similar; itchy water eyes, runny nose, drainage, coughing and sneezing. The one thing that can make it worse is the fact that we have our windows open because the days are warm and the nights are cold, with possible wind or breeze. Pollen blooms in the middle of the night around 12am-4am and a breeze blows it right through the open window to your nose and then you wake up either in the middle of the night or in the morning congested and unable to breathe. The other thing that makes noses so susceptible to pollen is also how dry our skin and tissues are this time of the year. If you are getting bloody noses or feel really dry even adults can use a humidifier in their room (not just for babies).

A person’s goal should always be to reduce the allergen load. As a doctor and mom here are a few things we do to our home to reduce the allergen load. Keeping allergens below a certain threshold is what will prevent the body form being inflamed and also expressing symptoms.

1. Time to change your furnace filter – don’t vacuum it; actually, change it a minimum of 2x a year. I do it at least 3-4x a year to keep our home clean.

2. Take down and wash or dust all vents including furnace vent and bathroom fans. This is important to do 2x a year to help with symptoms.

3. Open windows early and close windows or to a small crack when the last person goes to bed by around 10:30pm, this will beat the pollen bloom.

4. Keep bedrooms allergen free by not allowing pets to sleep in the room this will allow for at least 8 hours of reduced allergy time.

5. Vacuuming under beds or behind things.

6. Air Purifier – choose one that is easy to clean, matches the square footage of the bedroom and that you can afford to change the filters 3-4x a year. I love the germ-guardian line as well.

7. Linen management:

a. This means washing sheets weekly and if you are a sever suffer changing pillow cases 2x a week.

b. Opting for no rug or a rug that is washable, such as the brand Ruggable.

c. Keep close off the floor and in a laundry basket.

d. Wash stuffed animals every few months or depending on the amount of dirty love that they get.

e. Put pillows out in the sun on hot days or days below freezing as this will kill dust mites and other bugs.

As a family I practice all of these and have been working toward switching out the existing rugs for a washable rug in our home. I just changed my filter this week and had an inspection of our furnace system and you can see me here with Perry from American HVAC – a great company that schedules my check-ups and gives me great health advise as well. Check out my dirty filter!

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