Spring means flower buds and blooming trees — and if you’re one of the millions of people who have seasonal allergies, it also means sneezing, congestion, runny nose and other bothersome symptoms. Seasonal allergies — also called hay fever and allergic rhinitis — can make you miserable. Try these simple strategies to keep seasonal allergies under control:
- Avoid clothing made of synthetic fabrics, which, when rubbed together, can create an electrical charge that attracts pollen. Opt for natural fibers such as cotton, which also breathe better and stay drier, making them less likely to harbor mold.
- Exercise outdoors when pollen counts are at their lowest — before dawn and in the late afternoon and early evening. Because exercise causes you to breathe more deeply and inhale more pollen, try to do vigorous workouts indoors. If you’re going out for an easy walk, take a non-drowsy antihistamine before you go.
- If you garden, take an antihistamine about a half hour before you go outside. Digging up dirt can stir up pollen, so you should wear gloves and a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-rated 95 filter mask. Try not to touch your eyes. When you go back inside, wash your hands, hair and clothes.
- Limit your exposure to indoor allergens to help reduce the severity of your spring allergies. Vacuum your furniture, leave your shoes by the door, shower often, cover floors with washable throw rugs, and use a dehumidifier and an air purifier with a HEPA filter.
- Stay indoors on dry, windy days — the best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.