The end of summer can quickly turn into sneezing season, thanks to new allergens on the scene.

The end of summer can quickly turn into sneezing season, thanks to new allergens on the scene.

Top causes include ragweed and mold, reports the National Institute of Health. Ragweed pollinates between Aug. 15 until the first hard freeze and can cause hay fever in a heartbeat.

However, hay fever has nothing to do with hay, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. The antiquated term describes symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, itchy nose and itchy, watery eyes. It’s also known as allergic rhinitis and can be treated by prescription medications or even allergy shots.

Are allergy shots overkill for a few months of sneezing?

Dr. Delane H. Vaughn, at McPherson Hospital, explained that allergy shots, a series of injections increasing in doses of an allergen, can alleviate symptoms in certain cases.

“Patients that receive allergy shots have typically failed other treatment options, such as nasal sprays and medications that are taken by mouth,” Vaughn said. “Patients with allergies to trees, grass, and weed pollens, as well as dog and cat dander, dust mites, certain molds, and cockroaches tend to have the best results with allergy shots.”

Allergy shots are administered over the course of three to five years and can be expensive.

“Patients find these appointment regimens daunting. However, over the past few years, a range of effective doses has been developed for most allergens. A patient's regimen depends on whether one or multiple allergens are being addressed,” Vaughn explained. “Patients are scheduled for regular visits with their physician, where they receive an injection. Typically, benefits are seen within the first year of treatment.”

This solution is used primarily for the most severe symptoms, so those with more manageable conditions could avoid triggers like ragweed, use high-efficiency air filters at home or use oral antihistamines such as generic loratadine.

Aside from ragweed, the ACAAI noted three other causes of fall allergies to watch:

Lingering summer heat — While most people enjoy warm weather, unseasonably hot temperatures can make symptoms last longer. Mold spores can also be released when humidity is high, or the weather is dry and windy. Be sure to begin taking medications now before your symptoms start. Leaves — For allergy sufferers, raking presents its own problem. Mold spores are released in the autumn through decaying leaves, so it can stir agitating pollen and mold into the air, causing allergy and asthma symptoms. Those with allergies should wear a protective mask when raking leaves, mowing the lawn and gardening. School — Children are often exposed to more allergy triggers in the fall than adults by going to school. Allergens can include chalk dust, classroom pets or food allergens in the lunch room. Kids with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, or EIB, may have an attack during recess or gym class. Help your child understand what can trigger reactions and how to avoid symptoms. Notify teachers and the school nurse of any emergency medications, such as quick relief inhalers and epinephrine.

No matter the season, it’s important for those who think they may be suffering from allergies or asthma to see a board-certified allergist. An allergist can help you develop a treatment plan, which can include both medication and avoidance techniques. To find an allergist and learn more about allergies and asthma, visit http://AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org.