The weather is getting warmer, and flowers are blooming everywhere. That can only mean one thing…spring is finally here! But sometimes spring brings some less-than-pleasant things too, like watery eyes, a runny nose, and sniffles or sneezing, since springtime is also a prime season for allergies.
Millions of Americans suffer from seasonal or year-round allergies, which can be caused by pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and more. Luckily, there are steps you can take to reduce the effects of allergens, as well as limit your exposure to them in your home. Try these tips to help you better manage your allergies:
Check the pollen count. If flowers and trees make you sneezy, check out the local pollen count in your area. Go to pollen.com and check out the Allergy Map to see the local and national allergy forecast, and plan to stay inside as much as possible during times when the pollen count is high.
Shut the windows. On days when the pollen count is high, keep the windows closed.
De-pollen yourself. If you’ve been out and about, consider changing your clothes or taking a shower when you arrive home—this can help you remove any pollen that may have fallen or blown onto you while you were outside.
Drive sneeze-free. Replacing the car’s cabin air filters can help you reduce the amount of dust and other allergens that come in through the vents. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for how often you replace your filters.
Dust often. One of the best ways to control indoor allergens is by getting rid of dust. Dust mites are the most common trigger of asthma and allergy symptoms inside the home. It’s best to use a damp cloth when dusting to avoid scattering too many allergen particles into the air.
Vacuum frequently. Vacuuming in areas that accumulate dust, such as carpeting and around, under, and behind furniture, can help control allergens in your home. Consider choosing a vacuum with a HEPA filter to help trap dust mite particles, pet dander, pet hair and more.
Wash thoroughly. Dust mites tend to live in bedding, pillows and throw rugs. Try and wash your bedding in hot water at least once a week and dry them in a hot dryer to kill the dust mites. To reduce the effects of dust mites, purchase mite-proof covers for your mattress, pillows and box spring.
Avoid snoozing with Fluffy. If you’re allergic to pet dander or pet hair, it might be a good idea to not let your furry friend sleep in your bed. To avoid breathing in pet allergens all night long, shut the bedroom door so that your pet sleeps somewhere else in your home. Also, vacuuming your home and washing your pet often are two good ways to reduce pet hair or pet dander around the house.
Talk to your doctor about common remedies. Ask your primary care physician or your allergist if any of these common allergy remedies would be right for you: Antihistamines, decongestants, saline nasal sprays, eye drops, and/or immunotherapy such as allergy shots.
If you have more questions about how to manage your allergies, make sure to talk to your primary care physician or your allergist.