What Causes Fall Allergies and How Your HVAC Can Help

What causes fall allergies differs from region to region in the United States. For us in South Florida, the principal offender is ragweed, which continues to offend local residents deep into November. It’s the pollen from the ragweed flowers that gets us, leading to these symptoms:

  • Itchy/runny nose
  • Headache
  • Sinusitis
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Scratchy throat
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion

Another culprit when it comes to what causes fall allergies are mold spores, which can be triggered by cooler, damper weather in the fall. Grass pollen is yet another offender, and it can be prevalent through October in our region.

How You Get Exposed to Pollen

For the most part, you are exposed to pollen when you’re outdoors. It’s not practical to stay indoors all the time, so we’re bound to encounter some pollen, either inhaled while it’s wafting through the air or when it comes to rest on our clothing or pets, which can bring it inside. 

You can brush off your clothing or pets before you enter your home or change clothes right away, putting clothing that may have pollen on it in a plastic bag for washing later. Otherwise, you might need to turn to your HVAC system to help control pollen. 

How the HVAC System Helps Control Allergens

Your HVAC system has a filter that removes what causes fall allergies (pollutants) as the return air is drawn into the unit. If you use a cheap filter, only larger dirt particles are removed. A quality, pleated air filter, rated MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) 8-12 will help remove pollen that is in the supply air. Don’t try to use higher-rated filters unless you get your system modified.

You can also try portable air purifiers, including those with HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters to remove much of the pollution in your home’s air. Portable filters, however, must be moved from room to room. A whole-home air purifier, which is installed in the HVAC system, could be a better solution. 

Want to know more about what causes fall allergies in our region and how to deal with them? Contact NisAir Air Conditioning and Heating of Martin, Palm Beach and Indian River counties.

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