Fall Allergies Are Taking a Toll, but Here's How to Handle Them
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Fall Allergies Are Taking a Toll, but Here’s How to Handle Them


Portland is among the least likely cities where a person will be aggravated by fall allergies, but that’s little comfort while you’re suffering from the misery of hay fever. If you’ve had enough of the sneezing and watery eyes, finding the right air filter and air cleaner can help by improving your indoor air quality.

In Oregon, some of the most common fall allergens include:

  • Ragweed, nettle, and broad-leafed dock pollen
  • Mold spores

Dust mites, which thrive in damp fall weather, also aggravate allergies.

Choosing Your Air Filter

The right air filter in your heating and cooling system will trap pollen, mold spores and even dust mites so they’re no longer circulating in the air you breath. A filter’s efficiency at capturing particles is indicated by its minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV). A higher MERV indicates greater efficiency.

  • MERV 1 to 4 – These disposable panel filters provide only enough filtration to protect your system from debris, but not enough to clean your air.
  • MERV 5 to 8 – In this category, you’ll find cotton-polyester pleated filters that can trap smaller pollen particles, mold spores and dust mite debris.
  • MERV 9 to 12 – The pleated, bag and boxed media filters in this category capture 95 percent of particles down to 1.0 micron.

To keep your allergies under control, look for a filter with a MERV between 7 to 13. MERV 13 to 16 filters provide filtration near that of a HEPA filter, but may also interfere with airflow through your system. Before you install a high-efficiency filter, check with a technician.

Consider an Air Cleaner

Electronic air cleaners help pick up what filters miss. These devices pull in air, electrically charge contaminants in the air, and trap them against a metal collector plate.

Keep in mind that fall allergies are more than just a nuisance. Left untreated, they can lead to chronic sinusitis and even bronchitis.

If you’re tired of putting up with allergy symptoms, please contact us at (503) 266-1249. Wherever you live in the Portland area, we can help you improve your indoor air quality.

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