It’s not your imagination—the spring allergy season is getting worse every year. (Thanks climate change.) Pollen seasons now starting 20 days earlier and lasting 10 days longer than in 1990, According to the latest research, and the pollen count increased by 21%. If you think of each spring season as something to make your way through, it might be time to take a different approach.

Do the easy things first

If you often ignore allergies and hope it passes quickly, let’s review some small changes that can help you. (Severe allergy sufferers probably already do this stuff.)

First of all, pollen comes from the outdoors. So do your best to keep it there. Instead of opening the windows on a beautiful spring day, keep them closed and rely on your home’s ventilation system to adjust the temperature as needed. Replace your system’s air filter with a new one that has a high MERV rating; we’ve got More on selecting and changing air filters here. In the car, the recirculation button will keep the outside air out.

Besides being blown into the air, pollen can also enter your home on clothes, shoes, hair, and pet fur. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommend following:

  • Take off your shoes when you enter.
  • Change and wash your clothes after you’ve been outside for a while.
  • Take a shower and shampoo your hair before going to sleep.
  • Towel the pet off when you come inside.
  • Wash your bedding once a week.

Pay attention to the pollen count

To find out when pollen is at its worst, check out a site like pollen or your local weather forecast.

Most pollen is in the air in the early morning and around dusk. If you’ll be outside during high pollen times, consider wearing sunglasses or even a mask (N95 is great at keeping pollen out).

If you’re thinking of moving (or traveling during pollen season), you may want to take a look at the Asthma & Allergy Foundation List of “capitals of sensitivity” Where pollen is at its worst and allergy specialists are hard to find. rating last year also includes the better Cities for seasonal allergy sufferers, with Fresno, California, Phoenix, Arizona, and Provo, Utah at the top of the list.

in your house

With the easy stuff out of the way, it might be time to start looking at tougher decisions. Carpets, for example, can trap pollen. They can also harbor other allergens, such as dust and dust mites. If you have allergies, it might be time to pull it off and switch to hardwood floors or other soft floors.

Regular cleaning also helps. Get in the habit of vacuuming frequently, preferably with a vacuum cleaner that has a vacuum cleaner Heba Filter to trap small particles. Remove things that you can’t easily clean, and set up a cleaning schedule to make sure you don’t neglect the task.

Allergy covers on pillows and mattresses are for dust mite allergens from working in a space that can’t be cleaned. If you have a dust allergy, get yourself a set of these protectors, and be sure to wash your bedding, curtains, pillows, and other textiles frequently. (Dust mites aren’t seasonal like pollen, but if you’re allergic to both, you don’t need this double whammy.)

Consider an air purifier, too. these devices Filter allergens from the air Some people find it helps reduce symptoms.

with your doctor

Over-the-counter medications like Claritin can help with allergy symptoms, but if you’re still miserable even while taking it, it might be time to get professional help. Visit an allergist to see if other medications or approaches might be right for you (and to control your asthma, if you have that in addition to allergies).

If you’ve just been living with the assumption that you’re allergic to “something,” allergy testing can help narrow down exactly what your triggers are. Maybe you need to take care of mold more than sowing pollen, for example. The more you know, the more targeted approach you can take.

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