A Quick Guide to Allergy Relief
- Check the pollen count and try to stay inside when levels are high. For current levels, go to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology’s website. You can also sign up for an allergen report via e-mail.
- Close windows at night and delay morning jogs. Plants release pollen from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m., so the longer you stay inside during this period, the better.
- Run the air conditioner and invest in a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, which is required to capture 99.97 percent of the particles passing through it. Because pollen from shoes, animal paws, and other things can get embedded in carpets, consider replacing permanent carpets with washable throw rugs. Be wary of nonairborne allergens, such as dander, mold, and dust, which can aggravate seasonal allergies.
- Keep your lawn mowed short to prevent it from sprouting pollen-producing buds. Consider substituting nonpollinating plants, like ivy and myrtle, for grass. Get rid of leaves and compost piles quickly, before molds form.
- Wear natural fibers. Synthetics, such as polyester and nylon, can create a pollen-attracting electric charge when rubbed.
- Shower and wash your hair before going to bed. Daytime pollen can collect on your body, meaning you’ll be breathing it in all night.
- Breathe through your nose. When it comes to keeping out foreign bodies, noses are much better designed than mouths.
- Avoid secondhand smoke. A study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that exposure to secondhand smoke exacerbated allergic responses.
- Clean the house often. Reducing the levels of pollen, dust, and mold in your home will reduce your symptoms. Use vacuums, mops, and microfiber dust cloths, which collect particles, rather than brooms, which recirculate them into the air. Buy pillowcases and mattress covers made from fabrics labeled “dustproof,” and wash them frequently at hot temperatures to eradicate dust mites and pollen. Don’t air-dry bedding or clothes, since damp cloth attracts pollen. And wipe down windowsills with a damp cloth before going to bed so you can breathe and rest easy at night.