Fall means apple cider, back to school, the fresh smell of fallen leaves—and the return of allergy season. Approximately 10 to 20 percent of the public is allergic to ragweed, the most common culprit in fall seasonal allergies, and thanks to global warming, studies are finding that ragweed season is lasting as much as 15 days longer in some regions of the country. Rain, which washes pollen out of the air and so is generally welcomed by ragweed allergy sufferers, leads to the proliferation of mold, another seasonal allergy trigger.
Whether it's ragweed, mold—or both—that gives you the allergy blues, here are five ways to prep yourself now, before fall allergens have a chance to make you miserable.
#1: Stock up on butterbur. If mold, but not ragweed, makes you teary-eyed, try butterbur tablets, a botanical remedy. The British Medical Journal published a study in 2002 finding that leaves and roots of the butterbur bush, native to Europe, northern Africa, and parts of Asia, worked just as effectively at reducing hay fever symptoms as cetirizine, the active ingredient in Zyrtec, without causing drowsiness. Butterbur belongs to the same family as ragweed, however, so people allergic to ragweed may actually get worse after taking it.