By Dr. Maria Simbra

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Autumn can be a rough time for allergy sufferers.

If you’re one of them, there are some simple steps that you can take to keep your allergies under control and those steps start right in your own home.

A rainy summer means a miserable fall for some allergy sufferers because of mold.

With the rain we had over the summer, we saw persistently higher levels than usual.

“Typically, it peaks the first, second week in October. And it’s pretty much gone by the time we get the first frost,” Dr. Deborah Gentile said.

Anywhere there is decaying plant matter, for example, dead leaves or compost, you will have mold. You may not see it, but it’s in the air all around you.

“Typically, you’ll have runny nose, sneezing, congestion. Some patients may have eye symptoms: watering, itching, redness,” Dr. Gentile said.

The mold levels are detected with a sensor on the rooftop of Allegheny General Hospital. The counts have been ranging between 13,000 and 30,000, and that’s considered high.

“It will actually bring the air in, and it will deposit it onto a slide at a steady rate, and we have a certified counter who will go and count those every day,” Dr. Gentile said.

For people with this kind of allergy, keeping the home waterproof and as dry as possible can lessen symptoms. That means removing wet towels and rugs. A dehumidifier can help, too.

Outdoors is harder, because the mold spores are airborne. But, there is hope.

“If you are a mold allergy sufferer, you still have a week or two to get ready,” Dr. Gentile said.

You can use nasal steroids and antihistamines before going outdoors to help.


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