Fall is a beautiful season. Leaves change on the trees and fall in crunching drifts, sunsets and sunrises blaze with gold in clear air, and summer heat mellows into cool days. Autumn is a season for working and playing outside and enjoying nature. However, as with other seasons, particular illnesses flourish in autumn.
Allergies, flus, colds, and other ailments are common during the autumn months.
Ragweed is the most common trigger for fall allergies. Ragweed begins losing pollen in August and continues to do so through September and into October. This pollen can travel for hundreds of miles.
Another common fall allergy trigger is mold. Many people only think mold can grow in dark places in their homes, but mold also commonly grows in damp outside areas. With cooler fall temperatures comes wet, overcast days that create a better environment for mold growth, such as damp leaf piles.
Indoors, dust mites can cause fall allergies. Dust may have collected in a home’s furnace over the summer months when it sat unused. When the heat is turned on in the fall, that dust can be blown out into the home, potentially aggravating dust allergies.
The most common fall illness is the seasonal flu. Immune system performance lowers during the autumn months due to temperature drops, increased rain and humidity, and lack of Vitamin D. This increases our susceptibility to the influenza virus, which causes the flu.
Flu is easily spread between people by coughing, sneezing, and even talking. The flu virus can survive on a surface and be picked up by anyone who touches it as well. Flu vaccines are commonly available during autumn and winter, and they are the best way to prevent catching the influenza virus.
Common colds, a type of upper respiratory infection often caused by rhinoviruses, are also more prevalent in the fall than in spring or summer. Colds are spread similarly to flus, but there is no vaccine. Thankfully, cold symptoms are generally much less severe than flu symptoms.
Fall allergies and respiratory illnesses can exacerbate asthma symptoms. Allergic asthma or dry asthma are especially worsened by changes in the autumn season. The most common seasonal aspect of allergic asthma is difficulty breathing.
Autumn allergies and illnesses can turn a season of beauty and outdoor fun into a miserable season of sickness. People need to take care when enjoying it. Flu vaccines help prevent this common illness and keep fall an enjoyable season.