Autumn officially arrived last week, and with it came a plethora of fun activities for us all to enjoy. From haunted houses to apple picking to pumpkin decorating, there are lots of ways we can get out of our houses and enjoy the fall.

As with any changing season, though, there are certain things that can affect our health in a negative way if we’re not careful. We don’t just mean cold and flu season, either – there are other health related issues to watch out for in addition to that! So no matter how exciting your autumn plans are, make sure that you don’t forget about these important fall health facts:

 Fall temperatures aren’t as stable as summer or winter temperatures. While summer and winter temperatures typically remain fairly stable each day, autumn temperatures fluctuate from the morning to midday to the evening. On extreme days the temperature could reach the 70s during the day but drop to the low 50s or even lower at night. Because of this, it’s important to dress appropriately any day you’re spending time outside. Always take your plans into consideration and then check the forecast before you go out so you can choose the best layers for your comfort and your health each day.

Your body needs water just as much during the fall as it does during the summer. We may not lose as much water through sweating during the fall as we do during the summer, but drinking plenty of water is still important during this time of year. Fall breezes and chills create dryness in the air that we breathe, and this dryness dehydrates the human body as much as sweating on a hot day does. Our home heating systems and us spending more time indoors can also contribute to this dryness, which often leads to irritated lungs and skin. Staying hydrated helps combat this dryness and keeps our bodies in working order. Be sure to drink plenty of water, which is the best way to keep your hydration levels where they need to be.

Seasonal allergies aren’t just for the summer. As much as many people wish otherwise, allergies can strike and cause problems through the end of the autumn. In fact, ragweed and falling autumn foliage can contribute to outdoor mold and spore growth as fallen leaves and wood piles provide the perfect hiding place for these allergy triggers. By avoiding the outdoors during the mornings, staying away from open fields or weed filled lots, showering on a regular basis and taking OTC or prescription medications, you can control seasonal allergies until the winter arrives.

You’ll also want to take steps to allergy-proof your home – otherwise you could find yourself spending more and more time indoors with sneeze-triggering allergens during the rest of the year. Giving your home, car and office a clean and dust-off before winter arrives is a great way to reduce the allergy triggers residing in your living areas. Be sure to clean all blankets and sheets before use and to talk to your doctor if you need additional indoor allergy tips!

Raking leaves counts as exercise and needs to be treated like a workout. Many times we want to grab a rake or broom and head right outside to take care of the leaves piling up in our yards. However, failing to take precautions where they should be taken could lead to a range of problems. Many people find themselves dealing with muscle and backaches after raking leaves. However, in the worst case scenario the physical strain caused by raking can actually lead to a heart attack or stroke, particularly in older or out-of-shape individuals.

Whether you simply want to avoid suffering from a muscle strain or you’re truly at risk of suffering from a medical emergency while raking your yard, it’s important to follow certain safety steps before raking our yards. Since raking is a strenuous exercise you should always properly stretch and warm up their bodies and limbs before they get to work. Doing so will loosen muscles and help prevent injury due to overexertion during raking. Going slowly and taking breaks when needed are also very important, particularly for people who aren’t in the best of shape.

With autumn officially underway, it’s particularly important for you to start keeping these seasonal health facts and safety guidelines in mind. Doing so will help you and your entire family go out and enjoy a relaxing fall season without being slowed down by seasonal health issues.

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