Fun fall decorations, such as pumpkins, hay bales and cornstalks are a great way to get in the seasonal spirit. And who doesn’t love stunning fall foliage?

But if you have mold allergies, these signs of the season can do a number of your health, Michael Beninger, MD, an ear, nose and throat expert at the Cleveland Clinic warned in a news release.

As ragweed season winds down in the North and Northeast, the leaves start to fall, ramping up mold production. When leaves just sit in your yard, moisture accumulates, accelerating mold growth. Fallen foliage from summer gardens gone bad and more can also be mold hot spots.

As with all allergens, avoidance is your best strategy, Dr. Beninger said.

“If you’re a person with bad mold allergies, you probably should spend more time indoors,” he said in a news release. “Don’t rake your own leaves; be careful with with any kind of vegetables that are rotting [such as Halloween pumpkins].”

It’s also best to roll up the windows in your car or home, and run a fan at home to circulate air through your house to fight fall allergies, Warner Carr, MD, an allergist and fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, told It’s also essential to visit an allergist to make sure you know what you’re really allergic to, so you can create the best-possible treatment plan.

“There are simple, safe and effective therapies that we can do, so people aren’t suffering from seasonal allergies,” Dr. Carr said. “Allergies can have a huge impact on quality of life, and it’s completely unnecessary suffering.”

Mold allergies can create the same symptoms as other seasonal irritants: itchy, watery eyes, runny nose and nasal congestion, which often causes sleepless nights and daytime fatigue. Sore throats and headaches can also occur.

For people with asthma, mold can exacerbate their symptoms when it’s inhaled, regardless if they have other allergy symptoms — though 70 percent of asthmatics also have allergies, according to the ACAAI.


By Annie HauserNovember 1, 2013