Reduce your exposure to allergy triggers
- Stay indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
- Delegate lawn mowing, weed pulling and other gardening chores that stir up allergens or wear a mask if you do outside chores.
- Remove clothes you've worn outside and shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
- Don't hang laundry outside — pollen can stick to sheets and towels.
Take extra steps when pollen counts are high
Check the Environmental Protection Agency website (www.airnow.gov) for current pollen levels and air quality in your area.
- If high pollen counts are forecasted, start taking allergy medications before your symptoms start.
- Close doors and windows at night or any other time when pollen counts are high.
- Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning when pollen counts are highest.
Keep indoor air clean
- Use the air conditioning in your house and car.
- If you have forced air heating or air conditioning in your house, use high-efficiency HEPA filters and follow regular maintenance schedules.
- Keep indoor air dry with a dehumidifier.
- Use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter.
Try an over-the-counter remedy
- Oral antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching, a runny nose and watery eyes
- Oral decongestants can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness.
- Nasal sprays can ease allergy symptoms and don't have serious side effects.
If your seasonal allergies are not relieved by the above tactics, don't give up. Your doctor may recommend that you have skin tests or blood tests to find out exactly what allergens trigger your symptoms and identify which treatments are likely to work best for you.