Minimizing the misery of fall allergies

Allergies can last a lot longer than a cold

NEW YORK (CNN) – The cooler temperatures of fall are such a welcome relief but the sniffles and sneezes of autumn allergies are anything but. Even if you aren’t able to completely sidestep your allergies, there are some practical things you can do to minimize the misery.

“My eyes start to water and my nose just starts to get really stuffy,” said Ari Epstein, a patient.

That’s a common complaint. Allergy symptoms of sneezing, runny nose, congestion, coughing, watery eyes, loss of taste and smell, and fatigue may mimic a cold, but there’s two key characteristics that may signal you actually have an allergy.

“You usually don’t get as much itching with a cold. But itching is kind of a sign of allergies. But with colds it’s usually over in five to seven days. Allergies can last a lot longer,” said Dr. Stanley Fineman, an Allergist.

While you may be tempted to “gut it out” in the hopes that symptoms will improve on their own, it may be better not to wait to seek treatment. Medications like anti-histamines, and allergy shots will help relieve symptoms. However, avoiding allergens may be your best defense.

Start by limiting your time outside. Plan outdoor activities when pollen levels are low, usually during rainy, cloudy, and windless days. However, if you’re unable to avoid the outdoors, take steps to keep your home pollen-free.

“We suggest people wash their hair before they go to sleep, take their shoes off, keep their windows closed, use air conditioning, wash their pets, things that are just practical suggestions for keeping the pollen out of the house as best you can,” said Dr. Fineman.

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