Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Allergies Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

How to Avoid Surprise Allergy Attacks

Tried-and-true methods to keep allergens from making you miserable.
By
WebMD Feature

Out of nowhere -- a sneeze attack. Who knows what caused it? An assortment of indoor and outdoor allergens can launch a surprise assault. Pollen's a biggie; so is mold. Whatever you can do to tame those plagues will make your life sweeter.

Allergy attacks are the body's overreaction to an irritant. An allergen is normally a harmless substance in the environment, such as pollen, which causes the immune system to react as if the allergen is harmful.

Recommended Related to Allergies

Food Allergies: Tips for Eating Out

Having a food allergy used to mean dining out was limited to carrying your plate from the kitchen to the porch or, at best, eating at the home of a close friend or relative who could guarantee your food offenders were nowhere in sight. Today, however, eating out is a lot easier -- and safer -- for the 2 million Americans who suffer with a mild, moderate, or even a severe food allergy. One reason: Restaurants are more aware and more prepared. "The awareness of food allergies has definitely increased...

Read the Food Allergies: Tips for Eating Out article > >

Pollen, dust mites, mold, animal dander, and insect stings are common allergens -- triggering a range of symptoms, if you are sensitive to them. Mild reactions might be a rash, eye irritation, and congestion. With a moderate reaction, there's itchiness or difficulty breathing. A severe reaction, called anaphylaxis, is a rare but life-threatening emergency in which the whole body reacts.

It's a jungle out there. But here are tips to survive allergy triggers:

Pollen

It's no secret that grasses, trees, and flowers produce pollen from spring to fall. Here's their tentative schedule: Grass pollen (March to October), ragweed pollen (July to November), tree pollen (January to June), and weed pollen (April to November). The timetable varies depending on where you live.

But did you know this: Mowing the yard stirs up grass pollens. Gardening puts you face-to-face with flowers, those wicked little pollen producers.

To avoid pollen:

  • Check the clock. Pollen counts are usually highest in the late morning and early afternoon.
  • When pollen counts are high, keep windows closed. Use air conditioning. Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Don't hang clothing or bed linens outside to dry; pollen can adhere to fabric.
  • Get help with yard work. Get someone to mow the lawn, so you won't be exposed to so much grass pollen.
  • If you simply can't avoid yard work, wear an inexpensive face mask. Take a shower afterward, and change your clothing.
  • Avoid being around freshly cut grass whenever possible.
  • Keep car windows and vents closed; use air conditioning.

Mold

Damp areas like basements, bathrooms, and laundry rooms are where you can find mold. Outside, there are plenty more havens for mold.

To avoid mold:

  • Don't rake leaves. That stirs up mold spores, which you might inhale.
  • Steer clear of grass, leaf, hay, mulch piles, and compost heaps.
  • Avoid other damp areas like basements, garages, crawl spaces, and barns.
  • Stay indoors during rainy or windy days, when mold spores are likely to be airborne.
  • Clean home surfaces (including bathroom tiles and shower curtains) with diluted bleach or bleach-based cleaning products.
  • Keep an incandescent light on a mold-prone area of your home.
  • Use a dehumidifier and ventilate high-humidity areas.
  • Don't hang clothes or bed linens outside to dry; mold spores can easily attach.

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?
 

blowing nose
Article
woman with sore throat
Article
 
lone star tick
Slideshow
Woman blowing nose
Slideshow
 

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

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

cat lying on shelf
Article
Allergy prick test
VIDEO
 
Man sneezing into tissue
Assessment
Woman holding feather duster up to face, twitching
Quiz