By many accounts, we're in for a rough go of it this fall allergy season, thanks to the warmer-than-usual year we've been having.
"[Hot temperatures] are telling plants to produce more pollen, in some cases three to four times more pollen than usual," Cliff Bassett, M.D., a New York allergist and fellow with the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, told Weather.com. That could mean a ragweed season that’s as much as a month longer than usual, he said, running until November in some places.
The news comes on the tail of an earlier-than-normal spring allergy season, which oddly coincided with a delayed flu season, both likely due to the unseasonably warm 2011/2012 winter.
While the spring allergy season confronted the sneezy masses with sky-high pollen counts as plants and trees and flowers bloomed early, fall offers its own crop of troublesome allergens to contend with.
The only way to truly tell what it is that's causing your symptoms, however, is through testing, says Dean Mitchell, M.D., an allergist in private practice and a clinical professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York City. "It's tricky," he says about diagnosing allergies, since in many patients, the symptoms could be confused for the common cold. It's also important to make sure people aren't simply allergic to a pet at home, he tells The Huffington Post.
Below, you'll find the most common causes of fall allergies, plus how to avoid them. And tell us in the comments if you've noticed your allergies acting up earlier than usual.