While there's often a huge focus on spring allergies, fall allergies are a thing, too — and they're an issue for many people.
"Fall allergies can often be worse than springtime allergies, depending on what you're allergic to," Dr. Tania Elliott, allergist, immunologist and chief medical officer at Nectar Allergy, tells Yahoo Life.
The most common culprit for fall allergies is ragweed, a wild plant that blooms and releases pollen from August to November, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI). But other plants can trigger fall allergies, too, the ACAAI says, including burning bush, cocklebur, lamb's quarters, pigweed, sagebrush, mugwort, tumbleweed and Russian thistle.
"It's important to take fall allergies seriously," Elliott says. "It's not just an inconvenience. It could lead to serious health effects if not treated."
So, how can fall allergies impact your life? Here's a breakdown.
Fall allergies can cause fatigue and impact sleep
Fall allergies can interfere with your sleep, and there are a few reasons for that. "A lot of the medications that people take for allergies and asthma can make you feel drowsy or lethargic," Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist and immunologist with the Allergy and Asthma Network, tells Yahoo Life.
But, unfortunately, feeling sleepy when you have allergies can be caused by other factors as well. "Even just being congested or coughing or not breathing as well as you should be can make you feel more tired and more rundown," Parikh says.
Fall allergies can diminish your quality of life
More than 3 million days of work are missed in the United States each year due to allergies. "Studies have shown that allergies can significantly impact quality of life," Elliott says. "That means less productivity, difficulty concentrating even missed days of work."
It may even raise your risk of depression. "Anytime you have a chronic illness like allergies impacting you day by day and affecting your mood, making you more fatigued, you can see an increased incidence in things like depression," Elliott says. "You're not feeling yourself, you're not getting enough sleep to recover, and it ends up being a vicious cycle."
You can even feel the effect when you're caring for a loved one with fall allergies. "It can be draining from a mental health perspective," Kenneth Mendez, president and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, tells Yahoo Life. "It's important to ... understand how you can better take care of your loved one, but also take care of yourself."
Fall allergies can trigger other immune responses
Unfortunately, fall allergies can cause flares of other conditions. "Skin rashes, like eczema, atopic dermatitis or hives can actually be linked to your allergies," Parikh says. "We always see an increase in eczema and hives during those peak pollen seasons. They can be quite debilitating."
Asthma can also be triggered by allergies. "Asthma is something that's especially dangerous for allergy sufferers because allergies are the most common cause of asthma," Parikh says.
While fall allergies should be on your radar throughout the season, Mendez recommends being particularly mindful toward the end of September. "The third week in September is known as 'peak week,' and that's where emergency room visits spike because of asthma," he says. "It's generally associated with fall allergies and back to school."
If you suspect that you have fall allergies, talk to your doctor. "It's important to treat allergies rather than suffering through them," Parikh says. "You don't have to be miserable."