When everyone else has spring fever, are you worrying about hay fever and indoor allergies? If so, it's time to take action against allergies. Try these 10 tips to minimize allergy symptoms.
1. Track the Allergens
As the weather gets warmer, pollens and molds are released into the air. If you have seasonal allergies, check your local pollen forecasts.
2. Keep Allergens out of Your Bed
You spend a third to half your life in your bedroom, so make sure allergens like dust mites don't too. If you've had your pillow and mattress for several years, replace them. Encase new ones in allergen-proof covers that zip closed. Keep pets and clothes you wear outside out of the bedroom.
3. Take up the Carpet
Hardwood, tile, and linoleum floors are easier to clean and aren't a haven for allergens, as carpet is. Sweeping stirs up allergens, so clean floors with a damp mop instead.
4. Wear Oversized Sunglasses
Jackie Onassis did. Audrey Hepburn did. You should too -- at least when pollen counts are high. Especially on windy days, big sunglasses will help keep pollen out of your eyes.
5. Let the Dogs Out
The best way to minimize allergies from pets is to keep them outside most of the time. If you can't keep your pets outside, limit them to one or two rooms of the house. Pets can also carry allergens on their coats, so clean their fur and paws before they come inside.
6. Take a Moonlight Stroll
On peak pollen days, experts recommend staying inside during the day, when pollen counts are higher. But that doesn't have to derail outdoor exercise. Instead, ride your bike, walk, or run in the evening. Shower when you come indoors.
7. Use HEPA Filters
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters trap allergens. Vacuum carpets in your home once a week with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter. Put HEPA filters on vents if you have central heating and air-conditioning.
8. Bathe Your Pet
There is really no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog or cat. Both cats and dogs spread allergens in their dander (dead skin cells), urine, and saliva. Bathing and brushing your pet regularly may reduce your pet allergies significantly.
9. See an Allergist
If over-the-counter allergy medications don't provide relief, an allergist can dig deeper into what's causing your allergy and how severe it is. An allergist can also develop a more advanced treatment plan, which may include prescription medicines and allergy shots (allergy immunotherapy).