Fall allergy culprits are often similar to spring allergens — such as pollen and spores — except the types of plants that cause the trouble and the factors that cause them to circulate through the air may be a bit different. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, "The best way to control your symptoms is to avoid being exposed to the allergens that trigger your symptoms." In order to do that, you'll first need to understand those triggers. Just a few basic changes, such as taking care to wear a mask while raking mold-ridden leaves, may allow you to circumvent some of the worst discomforts.
Weeds. The top fall allergy culprit is weeds. Throughout most of the United States, ragweed tops the charts for irritating fall allergens. This flowering weed is fairly fragrant, and most allergy sufferers have some type of reaction to its pollen. Other weeds tend to flower in the fall as well, and the chemicals used to kill these weeds may cause an allergic reaction, too.
Mold. As autumn rolls around, rain and light snows begin to fall right along with the leaves from the trees. Ground plants also begin to die off for the winter, creating large pockets of rotting vegetation that are perfect for mold to flourish. Mold is often an issue indoors in humid areas.
Dust and dust mites. Generally an indoor issue, dust mites can wreak havoc during the fall allergy season. You may be spending hours outside raking leaves, pruning back trees and shrubs, and laying in flower bulbs for the spring, and then all the dust, mold and other allergens come right into the house when you're finished. Houses are already perfect places for dust and dust mites, but the conditions of fall make them even more ideal for these culprits to thrive, especially if your forced-air heating kicks in before you've had a chance to clean the filters.
Pets. While pet dander can be an issue at any time during the year, it can be even worse in the fall. Many animals are starting to grow their heavy winter coats, catching more skin flakes and dust in their fur. Indoor/outdoor animals are probably spending longer and longer hours inside as it gets colder, and they may drag in their share of mold in the process. In addition, those regular baths that can help keep dander to a minimum are more difficult to do when you can't let your pet outside until it's completely dry.