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Allergies Health Center

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How to Avoid Pollen

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Pollen doesn't mean to bug you. It's there to help plants reproduce. But if you inhale it, it can cause allergy symptoms such as:

  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy throat
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Hoarse voice

It's a lot like a cold, and you usually get it like clockwork when those pollen-making plants start to bloom.

Recommended Related to Allergies

Spotting Hidden Allergy Triggers

If you've been living with allergies, you probably know the obvious stuff by now -- don't take in stray cats, don't hang around in dusty attics, don't inhale deeply in smoking lounges. But that might not be enough. There could be hidden allergy triggers and irritants all around you that you don't know about. "Hidden allergens and irritants are a huge problem for people with allergies," says Hugh H. Windom, MD, an associate clinical professor of immunology at the University of South Florida. "The...

Read the Spotting Hidden Allergy Triggers article > >

If you have to be outside, try these tips:

  • Check pollen counts before you plan outdoor activities.
  • Limit how much time you spend outside during the morning or midday, when pollen counts are at their highest.
  • Wear sunglasses to keep it out of your eyes.
  • Have someone else mow your grass. Don't rake leaves during pollen season. And if you must do yard work, wear a mask.
  • Going on vacation? Look for a place where pollen is low, such as the beach.
  • Change your clothing when you come indoors. Shower and wash your hair first.

5 Ways to Keep Pollen Out of Your Home

1. Close your windows and outside doors.

2. Don’t use window or attic fans during pollen season. Use air-conditioning instead.

3. Roll up your car windows when driving.

4. Dry clothing and bedding in the dryer. Don't hang them outside.

5. Remember that pets can bring in pollen on their fur, too. Don't allow pets that spend time outdoors in your bedroom.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Luqman Seidu, MD on January 27, 2016
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