Fall is here and along with the changing leaves and cooling weather come a variety of new asthma and allergy triggers to watch out for.

  1. Trigger #1: Weed Pollen

    At the end of summer, weed pollen levels begin to rise and can trigger allergic and asthmatic reactions. Common weed pollens include the pollen from ragweed, cockleweed, pigweed, Russian thistle, sagebrush and even tumbleweed.

    What You Can Do:

    Pollen levels are highest between 10am and 3pm, so if you can stay indoors during that time it will help. If you take allergy medicine for weed pollens, start taking it when pollen season starts; don’t wait for the symptoms to hit.

    Trigger #2: Mold

    Although mold grows year round, it’s most active in the fall. The most common asthma-triggering molds include alternaria, aspergillus, and cladosporium.

    What You Can Do:

    Mold grows both indoors and outdoors, but the type of mold that most commonly triggers asthma is outdoor mold. So you can reduce your exposure by keeping your windows closed. Dead leaves are also a breeding ground for mold, so pay someone else or ask a non-asthmatic family member to rake them for you.

    Trigger #3: Cold Air

    The cold air itself can cause your airways to constrict, possibly triggering asthma.

    What You Can Do:

    Stay inside where it’s warm when possible, and when you go out wrap a scarf around your nose and mouth to help warm up the air you breathe.

    Trigger #4: Fireplace / Bonfires

    Fall is a fun time of year to build a bonfire or snuggle up next to the fireplace. Unfortunately, smoke is an asthma trigger for many people.

    What You Can Do:

    If you can’t avoid bonfires altogether, at least avoid standing too close and make sure not to stand downwind from the fire. As for fireplaces, if you can heat your home via another means that should help. If not, getting your fireplace professionally cleaned can also improve the situation.

    Trigger #5: The Cold and Flu

    The common cold and the flu are two of the most common asthma triggers and, unfortunately, fall is a popular time for them as well.

    What You Can Do:

    Get a flu shot. Also, make sure to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face. This is especially important when you’re in public places like an office or school.