Tips to help fall allergies

eye allergiesFall in Michigan is certainly one-of-a-kind. There’s apple picking, college football, the changing leaves…and the dreaded return of fall allergies. In fact, Michigan ranks as one of the top states for allergies due to its high count of weeds and pollens.

Like most allergies, eye allergies occur when your immune system overreacts to foreign substances, which could otherwise be harmless. The most common culprits for fall allergy sufferers are mold and hay fever, which is caused by an allergy to fall pollen from plants known as ragweed. In addition to sneezing, sniffling, nasal congestion and disrupted sleep, having a ragweed or fall mold allergy can cause red, puffy and itchy eyes, and sometimes even lead to chronic sinus problems and asthma attacks.

With a fall allergy season running from August to November, ragweed is difficult to avoid completely – especially since one plant’s pollen can travel up to 400 miles! Add the mold growing on shrubs, or other damp areas near the house, and you have a painful allergy season ahead of you.

Try one of these preventive tips to delay the itchy, watery eyes:

  • Put your glasses on rather than wearing contacts. Also, consider cleaning your contacts more frequently, and with allergy-specific disinfectant to avoid any allergic reactions.
  • Cool down your eyes with a wet washcloth rather than rubbing. It will help with inflammation.
  • Plant cover crops in your garden to prevent ragweed from taking root. Cover crops, such as clover, rye and buckwheat, keep your soil healthy for next spring’s season, too!
  • Stay-cations can be monitored for allergen levels. You can check the allergen levels of your hometown or Michigan stay-cation on the National Allergy Bureau’s website.

Be prepared to experience fall allergies through November, especially since hay fever and fall mold allergies are more common in the Midwest. If you do not feel relief even after trying over-the-counter medications, visit your optometrist.

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