Spring is officially here — whether it feels like it or not in some parts of the country — so you may already be feeling your seasonal allergies kick in. Spring allergies can last from February and continue into summer, though the allergens change along the way. Typically during these months, though, tree pollen, grasses, and weeds are to blame for your runny nose and itchy eyes.
While you may be running to the medicine cabinet for your antihistamines, there are other ways to help yourself out as the outside world comes back to life:

  • It may feel great to open up those windows and let the warm air breeze through your house, but if you’re an allergy sufferer, you’re letting in more than just “fresh” air. Keep your windows closed and opt for indoor fans to help keep pollen out of your home.
  • Vacuum at least twice a week and make sure your vacuum has a High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (HEPA) filter. Many allergens can escape your vacuum and end up in the air, where you breathe them in. This is where the HEPA filter comes in. It traps allergens inside the vacuum and keeps them out of your airways.
  • Wipe down surfaces with a damp cloth to trap any surface allergens.
  • Use a nasal rinse to keep your nasal passages clear of allergens. Neti pots are great for keeping passageways clean, but if they seem too overwhelming for you, there are plenty of saline sprays available at your local pharmacy that can help rinse sinuses.
  • Make sure you’re staying hydrated. Allergies are caused by a histamine reaction and histamine production increases if you’re dehydrated. If you’re not getting enough water, your body may also not be producing enough antibodies, making it even harder to ward off allergies. While water intake recommendations vary, you can start with the 8-glasses-of-water-a-day rule. Plus, as the weather warms up, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re getting enough fluids — allergy sufferer or not.

If you feel like you’ve tried everything and your allergies are still getting the best of you, put that health insurance plan to work and ask your doctor for some help in conquering allergy season.