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Written by Rachna Shah on October 3, 2022

Fall Clean Up

Dr. Shah and her father raking leaves - 1997

The crisp air of Fall is here and that means football, shorter days, and cleaning up the yard in preparation for the winter! Typically, with the cooler weather, we would think that the allergens are less in the air outside. It is important to remember that mold spores are still present until the first frost and increased exposure could lead to more allergy and asthma symptoms.

Mold is a type of fungus that produces spores that float through the air. It can grow on anything and is often present on plant material and in the soil. Rotting logs and plant material, fallen leaves, and compost piles are ideal places for mold to grow. If a person is allergic to mold, symptoms can include itchy eyes, itchy nose, sneezing, stuffy nose, increased mucus production, and asthma symptoms like cough, wheezing, or shortness of breath.

There are things to do to help prevent symptoms as we try to clean up our yards in preparation for the winter:

  • Remove leaves and dead plant material as soon as possible to decrease the growth of mold on it
  • Wear a mask and goggles/glasses when raking or cleaning up the yard
  • After yardwork, clean up by taking a shower and washing your hair. Change clothes as soon as possible.
  • Consider sinus rinse or sinus lavage to help flush out the nose and the allergens
  • Take an antihistamine like Zyrtec, Allegra, or Claritin prior to yard work
  • Be good this time of year with controller medications like nasal steroid sprays and controller asthma medication if suggested by your allergist!

Mold season will end at the first frost. This is defined as 3-4 days of morning temperatures below freezing. If you want to discuss a plan or other tips, please set up an appointment!

Article written by Rachna Shah

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