Moldy fall leaves could make you sick

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Mold could be hiding in your wet piles of leaves, which can trigger troublesome symptoms for those with allergies. (AP)

Trees across the country are showing the first signs of fall as leaves begin changing from green to brown. Piles of color now line many sidewalks and yards, and doctors say there could be a potent allergen hiding in the fall foliage.

Dr. Stuart Ginn an ear, nose, and throat physician says mold could be hiding in your wet piles of leaves.

"They thrive in moist, dark environments," he said.

"Raking leaves and leaves coming down releases all of that in the outside environment," Ginn explained.

Mold can trigger troublesome symptoms for the allergic. Common symptoms include itchy, watery eyes, nasal congestion, and a runny nose.

However, mold isn't the only allergen causing you to sneeze this autumn. Dr. Ginn says grasses and ragweed are also common triggers. Ragweed can be hard to avoid.

"It's everywhere," said Ginn, "It's just mixed in with the normal flora of the environment around here."

If you are suffering from allergies there are things you can do. First, try to avoid any allergens that cause you problems. Second, when working in the yard, wear a mask and gloves to prevent inhaling the allergen. Last, over the counter nasal sprays and antihistamines can be used to combat symptoms.
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