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Allergies Health Center

Your Pollen Survival Guide

Pollen and allergies don't mix.
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Fifth, Keep Pollen From Following You Into the House

As soon as you arrive home -- even if you've just been in the backyard -- change your clothes and take a shower to rid your body of as much pollen as possible, Leftwich says.

Don't forget your hair, especially if it is long, Leftwich says. "Just rinsing your hair would do."

Sixth, Treat Your Pollen Allergies

A variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications can help your allergy symptoms such as runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion, and coughing.

Get an evaluation from an allergist to help find the best allergy remedy for you, Wolbert says. The doctor may recommend an antihistamine, other allergy pills, inhaled allergy treatments, or even allergy shots.

Beware of overusing decongestant nasal sprays. Using decongestant sprays for more than three days in a row, he says, can lead to a "rebound" effect. Your allergy symptoms may become worse than before you started the medicine.

If your pollen allergies are bad, talk to your doctor about preventive treatment with antihistamines or inhaled steroids. Start taking the treatment before pollen season starts.

You might also consider allergy shots (allergy immunotherapy) if you suffer severe allergies. The doctor injects a small amount of the allergen that affects you, building up your immunity over time. Typically, the injection is given once a week or once a month. "It usually takes three to five years of allergy shots," Wolbert says, to build up immunity to the allergen.

"Most people get good results, if they stick with the recommended number of injections," he says.

Seventh, Take an Allergy Vacation

If pollen still drags you down after taking all the six steps above, consider taking an allergy vacation.

When pollen season is in full swing, take a trip to an area less affected by pollen, such as the beach or the seashore nearest to your hometown. Relax! You deserve it.

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Reviewed on February 25, 2009

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