Little girl is blowing her nose

Chances are your health (or that of your loved ones) has been affected by the springtime pollen surge. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S., affecting more than 50 million Americans and costing the nation a whopping $18 billion each year! While warring your attack against itchy eyes, nasal drainage and disrupted breathing, consider these tips from the Mayo Clinic.

  • Stay inside on dry or windy days when pollen roams rampant. The best time to go outside is after a heavy rain, when much of the pollen has been washed away.
  • Avoid yard work if you can—opt for indoor chores instead.
  • When you come in from spending time outdoors, remove clothes and take a shower so you’re not carrying allergens around with you.
  • Despite the spring-fresh smell, don’t hang laundry outside to dry.
  • Consider wearing a dust mask if you absolutely must do outside chores.
  • Though the fresh breeze is refreshing, refrain from opening windows in your house and rely on air conditioning instead.
  • Use high-efficiency filters if you have forced air heating or air conditioning. Make sure you regularly change your filters.
  • Use an air dehumidifier.
  • Consider grabbing a portable high-efficiency particulate air filter for your bedroom.
  • Clean floors regularly to remove dirt and allergens and use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
  • Rinse your sinuses with a prepackaged nasal wash (like a Neti pot) to clear out the excess mucus.
  • Visit your general practitioner and ask for advice on the proper over-the-counter or prescription remedy best suited to dealing with your symptoms. He or she may refer you to an allergist for allergy testing or for additional treatment options.
  • Consider rethinking pet ownership (dander may be part of your problem). Don’t feel like you can part with your pup? Make sure you at least ban them from the bedroom. Consult your allergist for allergy shot options.

View the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s website for additional helpful tips.