Summer is gone with the wind. The heated dog days are being replaced by a crisp, cool breeze, but autumn brings little relief for many allergy sufferers. Ragweed pollen is one of many environmental triggers that trouble millions of allergy sufferers. Others include mold from damp leaves, wet basements, and dust mites.  Don’t confuse allergic reactions with cold symptoms.

What Are Allergies?

According to the Mayo Clinic, an allergic reaction occurs when your body comes into contact with a foreign substance- an allergen (bee venom, pollen, etc.). Your body identifies this substance as harmful, even when the threat is minor. When you encounter that allergen again, your body reacts to it with allergy symptoms.

Recognize The Symptoms

Allergy symptoms vary from person to person, depending on their particular sensitivity. Some common symptoms include:

  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Runny Nose
  • Congestion

Know The Difference

While suffering from these symptoms may seem like a common cold to you, allergy and cold symptoms differ in two respects.

  • Colds generally include a fever; allergies do not.
  • Colds typically last 7-10 days; allergies symptoms may be present for an entire season.

Reducing Allergy Symptoms

Here are 9 steps you can take to reduce allergy symptoms

  • Stay indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to be outdoors is after a rain, which clears the air of pollen.
  • Delegate lawn mowing, weed pulling and other gardening chores that stir up allergens.
  • After spending time outside, take a shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair, and put on clean clothes.
  • Wear a face mask if you do outside chores.
  • Take over-the-counter antihistamines when high pollen counts are forecast, even before your symptoms start.
  • Use air conditioning in your house and car.
  • Use high-efficiency air filters, and change them frequently.
  • Keep indoor air dry with a dehumidifier.
  • Clean floors frequently with a vacuum cleaner.


If your seasonal allergies are usually mild, nasal sprays and oral antihistamines can help manage the symptoms. Your body, however, may eventually build up a tolerance to an over-the-counter (OTC) medication. If OTC treatments don’t reduce your symptoms, it may be time to talk to a physician. You may need a prescription or other treatment.