With summer wrapping up and the season of pumpkins and hot apple cider approaching, you may think that you can lower your allergy defenses. Don’t think you’re in the clear quite yet. If your allergies act up around pollen or mold, you may need to continue your allergen vigilance through the fall. 

Ragweed produces pollen from August to November and, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, it triggers allergies in up to 23 million people in the United States. Outdoor mold that grows under fallen leaves can also trigger allergies throughout the autumn months. 

To protect against these strong allergens, you need to minimize their presence in your home. Perhaps the most important room to focus on is your bedroom, as you spend upwards of eight hours per night breathing in the air there. Wash your sheets once a week in hot water to rid them of any pollen, mildew, and pet dander that gathers there. If you have heavy, drape-like curtains in your bedroom, switch them out for breezy curtains made of cotton or synthetic fabrics, and throw them in the wash with your sheets. 

After you spend time outside, wash pollens off of your skin and hair as soon as possible so they don’t settle in your house. Don’t walk in your house with the same shoes you had on outside more than strictly necessary. Either go barefoot in your home or have a clean pair of inside-only shoes waiting when you arrive. 

Buy a dehumidifier to help fight mold growth in your home. A relative humidity that measures less than 50% helps remove indoor allergies, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Using an air conditioner can also help remove moisture from the air, just be sure to regularly change its filters. 

As a final defense against allergy-triggering particles, consider upgrading your vacuum. As it’s been cleaning your home, your vacuum has been gathering pollen and other allergens on the inside and outside for years. There are vacuums now that even fight specifically against common allergens.

By taking these precautions in your everyday life, you’ll be going apple picking and navigating corn mazes in the lovely fall weather before you know it.