PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — This is a bad time of year for 11-year-old Connor Duran.

“Really hard to breathe, and run, and move,” Duran, of Robinson, describes. “I usually take my inhaler before practice. Last year at this time, I actually wasn’t able to play football.

He is allergic to toxic black mold, as is his little sister.

“It’s awful. Hers are worse, because her eyes will swell, her ears end up infected,” their mother Karen Duran says.

“Fall is typically a very busy time for mold allergies. Levels are usually moderate to high. It’s related to the temperature changes, as well as all the leaves and other plants decaying,” says Allegheny General Hospital allergist Dr. Deborah Gentile. “We’re seeing several people per day with mold allergies. About 30 percent of the population in general does have allergies. So this can be a big one.”

You can try antihistamines and inhaled steroids for relief. As for cleaning up the leaves, that won’t necessarily eliminate your misery.

“Airborne allergens travel about 30 miles in the air. Even if you clean up the leaves right in your immediate yard, you’re still going to go ahead and have exposure,” says Dr. Gentile.

Of course, it’s common for people to have colds this time of year, too. So how to tell the difference?

“When you first get a cold you feel a sore throat. You never feel a sore throat with allergies,” she explains.

If symptoms last more than two or three weeks, it may be allergies.

Their mother does the best she can to prevent their symptoms.

“A lot more Clorox, making sure everything is dry,” Karen says. “She takes Claritin every day, or Zyrtec, whichever, one of the two. And then she gets two shots weekly. And she’s on two inhalers. I’m hoping with the allergy shots this year, it will be better.”

Mold allergies can trigger asthma in some people. So if you have asthma, it’s a good idea to be on your controller medications.

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