As summer days come to an end and the autumn leaves begin to change color, many people notice a flair-up of sneezing, wheezing and an itchy throat, all indicators that fall allergy season here. To make matters worse, there are indications that climate change is resulting in a season that starts earlier and lasts longer. Ragweed and mold are some of the biggest culprits, especially when conditions are dry. The wind can carry pollen from ragweed, grasses and trees up to 100 miles from its source, and mold is harbored in dry leaves and grass.
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Ragweed, roughly 40 species of weedy plants in the Asteraceae family, is a common allergen. Ragweed plants typically release pollen during late summer and early fall, often reaching their peak during the month of September. Ragweed pollen can lead to allergic rhinitis (such as hay fever), affecting more than 23 million Americans, and can also be a trigger for oral allergy syndrome (OAS). People suffering from OAS can develop an itchy mouth and scratchy throat, or swelling in their lips, mouth, tongue or throat.
Mold is another offender and can live indoors and out. It grows wherever there is water, especially in bathrooms and damp basements inside your home. Outside, mold can be found in piles of dead leaves and decaying plant matter that release mold spores into the air. All of these issues can make autumn an especially challenging time for people with sensitivities to mold.