Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Allergies Health Center

Font Size

Allergy-Proof Your Environment

Medicines can help ease your stuffy nose and itchy eyes once they strike, but you also can take steps to prevent symptoms.

Allergy-Proof Your Home

  • Keep windows closed and use air conditioning if you're allergic to pollen. Don't use fans. They can stir up dust.
  • Filter the air. Cover air conditioning vents with cheesecloth to catch pollen, and use HEPA filters. Clean air filters often.
  • Keep the humidity in your house below 50% to prevent mold growth.
  • If you have pets, keep them out of the bedroom and be sure to bathe them often.
  • Avoid areas where molds may collect, including basements, garages, crawl spaces, barns, and compost heaps. Have someone else clean these areas often.
  • Put dehumidifiers in basements and other areas of the house where mold tends to collect. Clean them every week.
  • Make sure shoes and clothes are dry before storing.
  • Take wet clothes out of the washing machine right away, so mold doesn’t grow.
  • Wash shower curtains and bathroom tiles with mold-killing solutions.
  • Don't overwater indoor plants. Soil encourages mold growth.
  • Store firewood outside.
  • Use hypoallergenic covers for pillows, mattresses, and box springs. Avoid overstuffed furniture and down-filled bedding or pillows.
  • Wash your bedding every week in hot water.
  • Don’t let anyone smoke in your house.
  • Wear a mask and gloves when you clean, vacuum, or paint to limit dust and chemical exposure.
  • Vacuum twice a week.
  • Limit throw rugs to reduce dust and mold. Make sure rugs are washable.
  • Choose hardwood or vinyl floors instead of carpeting. If you must have carpeting, choose low-pile.
  • Avoid dust-collecting blinds or long drapes. Use window shades instead.
  • Make sure there is an exhaust fan over the stove to remove cooking fumes.

When You're Outdoors

  • Keep walks in wooded areas.
  • Check the forecast. Stay indoors as much as possible on hot, dry, windy days when pollen counts are generally highest.
  • Try to avoid extreme temperature changes. They are triggers for some people with asthma.
  • If possible, stay indoors in the early morning, when pollen counts are usually highest.
  • Wear a mask (like a low-cost painter's mask) when mowing the lawn if you are allergic to grass pollen or mold. Better yet, get someone else to mow your lawn.
  • Wear a mask when gardening, if pollen bothers you.
  • Avoid raking leaves or working with hay or mulch if you are allergic to mold.
  • After being outdoors, take a shower, wash your hair, and change your clothes to remove pollen.
  • To protect yourself from insect stings, wear shoes, long pants, and sleeves. Do not wear scented deodorants, perfumes, shampoos, or hair products.
  • Don't hang clothes or linens outdoors to dry, as pollen and molds may collect in them and can make your allergies worse.

Allergy-Proof When You're Traveling

  • Pack your allergy drugs in your carry-on bag.
  • Bring an extra supply of medication in case you need them.
  • Ask for a non-smoking room.
  • Ask for non-allergenic pillows. Or bring your own hypoallergenic pillow cover from home.
  • If possible, keep the vent on the room air conditioner shut.
  • Eat in smoke-free restaurants.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on November 07, 2012

Today on WebMD

man blowing nose
Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
Allergy capsule
Breathe easier with these products.
cat on couch
Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
Which ones affect you?

woman sneezing
Bottle of allergy capsules and daisies
Urban blossoms
Woman blowing nose

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Woman with itchy watery eyes
Allergy prick test
Man sneezing into tissue
woman with duster crinkling nose