If you’re someone who suffers from spring allergies, you probably breathed a sigh of relief (literally) when summer came around. But now that the leaves are falling and fall is here, you may not be out of the woods anymore. We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but there are in fact eye allergies in fall. So if you have water coming out of eyes continuously, or have both eyes itchy and red, you might be getting hit by this next round of seasonal allergies. Here’s what you should know.
Common allergy symptoms
Those who suffer from allergies often experience the following symptoms:
- Watery discharge
Many people suffer from one or more of these symptoms and don’t have any others. But some people also experience symptoms similar to those from a cold (e.g. sneezing, stuffy nose, etc.).
What causes fall allergies?
Just like in the spring, fall allergies can be caused by a variety of allergens:
- There are outdoor allergens, which usually include grass, trees, and weeds. In the fall, ragweed is often one of the worst culprits of allergies, as is mold (which may be found in damp spots outdoors, like piles of leaves).
- Indoors, there are numerous possible triggers for allergies, most often pet dander, mold and dust mites.
- Allergies can also be set off by irritants, like perfume, cigarette smoke or car exhaust.
If you find yourself experiencing stronger symptoms at certain times, record where you are and whether you’re near any of the common allergens listed above. This can help you start to figure out what your allergies are in response to.
Do I have allergies or a cold?
Sometimes, people are unsure whether they have seasonal allergies or if their symptoms are an indication of a cold. While only a doctor or allergist can tell you this answer conclusively, you can try to do some level of a self-diagnosis.
First, consider any known allergies you have. Are there any? Second, think about how sensitive you are to synthetic scents and irritants like cigarette smoke. Third, ask yourself whether other people in your family have allergies. If you have other known allergies, tend to be sensitive to scents and irritants, and know that allergies run in your family, there’s a good chance you’re experiencing allergies and not a cold.
How can I get relief from my symptoms?
Until you’re able to pinpoint your exact allergens, there are some steps you can take to help the annoyances that allergies bring:
- Wash your hands often, especially after being outdoors or near animals.
- Keep your windows closed at home and in the car.
- Use glasses or sunglasses when outdoors.
- Try over-the-counter eye drops to help the irritation you’re experiencing (artificial tears are a good idea, as are antihistamine or decongestant eyedrops).
- If nothing else works, you can always try an oral antihistamine (although they could dry out your eyes).
- When over-the-counter drops aren’t helping, your eye doctor may prescribe stronger antihistamine eye drops for you.
Just like with spring allergies, fall allergies can be a terrible inconvenience. But by trying to figure out where your allergies get triggered and taking steps to relieve your symptoms in the meantime, you should be able to enjoy the season without itchy, red, watery eyes. As always, contact us to schedule an eye exam or to consult with our doctors about your eye allergy concerns.