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Autumn Allergy Sufferers One Frost Away From Relief, MU Expert Says

Cold, Flu, Virus or Allergies?

Oct. 17, 2007

Story Contact:  Jennifer Faddis, (573) 882-6217,

Autumn Allergy Sufferers One Frost Away From Relief, MU Expert Says
Cold, Flu, Virus or Allergies?

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The sniffing, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes have been dragging on for weeks. A University of Missouri-Columbia health expert says autumn allergy sufferers have been hit by a longer than usual allergy season this year because of longer-lasting warm weather. The good news: relief is just one good freeze away. 

“This time of year, people often are not sure if they are suffering from allergies, a cold or coming down with the flu,” said Dana Evans, clinical instructor of respiratory therapy in the MU School of Health Professions. “Common symptoms include coughing, sneezing, headaches, or runny nose; however, allergies do not cause fevers or body and muscle aches. That would be a sign that it is a cold, flu or virus.”

The autumn allergy season usually runs from August to October, ending with the first freeze. The most bothersome allergen is ragweed this time of year. Mold is a problem for allergy suffers all year and in the spring, grass and pollen are often the worst offenders.

 “Ragweed pollen can blow as far as 400 miles,” Evans said. “Warm and windy days are the worst for people who suffer from allergies. Rain does help get the pollen out of the air.”

Evans says ragweed pollen is unavoidable and sticky. She gives the following tips for minimizing exposure:

• Stay indoors as much as possible

• Wash hand thoroughly after being outdoors

• Change clothes after being outdoors because pollen will stick to clothing

• Shower before going to bed to wash pollen out of hair and keep it from getting in the bed sheets

• Wash bedding at least weekly in hot water

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