How to Prepare for Allergy Season

Four Methods:Getting HelpPreparing Your HomeReducing Your Exposure to Outdoor AllergensAdjusting Your Diet and Lifestyle

The warmer months may mean more time spent outside, but for many people warmer weather also signals the start of allergy symptoms. To prepare for allergy season, you should meet with your doctor to discuss a plan of action. Your doctor can perform a skin test to find out what you are allergic to and make recommendations based on your allergies. You can also prepare your home to help eliminate allergens, take steps to reduce your exposure to outdoor allergens, and adjust your diet and lifestyle. By taking steps to prepare yourself, allergy season should be much less stressful.

Method 1
Getting Help

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    Talk to your doctor about allergy medications. If you are worried about how your body is going to react to allergens or if you are struggling with your allergies, see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor may be able to prescribe medicines that will help you deal with the oncoming allergy season.[1]
    • There are many over-the-counter options (OTC) available for allergies, but talking to your doctor about your symptoms is still a good idea. Your doctor can make recommendations for OTC medicines or prescribe a stronger medicine if needed.
    • Your doctor may recommend you see an allergist and get allergy shots, which may help desensitize you to the allergens over a period of years. This is a long-term treatment.[2]
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    Request a skin test. There are many different allergens that may be causing your allergy symptoms. If you are unsure about what you are allergic to, then a skin test is a good idea. Talk to your doctor about getting a skin test done to find out what you are allergic to.[3]
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    Ask your doctor about a corticosteroid nasal spray. If OTC nasal sprays do not relieve your congestion during allergy season, then you can ask your doctor about a prescription corticosteroid nasal spray. This type of nasal spray is much stronger and may help to relieve your congestion if other types of nasal sprays have not helped. [4]
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    Consider acupuncture for allergies. If you have not had success with medications or you just want to avoid them, look into acupuncture. A number of studies have shown acupuncture to be an effective approach for treating allergies.[5]

Method 2
Preparing Your Home

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    Wear a mask while cleaning. If you also suffer from dust allergies, then use a surgical mask to protect yourself from inhaling dust and other particles while you are cleaning. You can buy surgical masks at most pharmacies and larger department stores as well.
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    Change pillowcases and bedsheets often. To reduce the number of dust mites living in your bedsheets, change and wash your bedding once per week. Wash your sheets and pillow cases in hot water that is heated to about 130°F (54°C) or higher. If you have any down or wool fabrics for bedding, replace them with synthetic material bedding to reduce allergens even more.[6]
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    Vacuum once per week. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to clean your floors, rugs, and carpets. HEPA filter vacuum cleaners can remove various allergens, which might help to improve your allergies. You may want to consider steam cleaning the carpets and rugs as well, especially if you have pets.[7]
    • Don’t forget to move the furniture when you vacuum so you can get those spots, too.
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    Wash all of your windows and rinse the screens. Screens can accumulate dust and other particles that include allergens. You should also clean any mold or condensation that has formed on your window sills.[8]
    • During allergy season, plan to keep the windows and doors shut to reduce the amount of allergens coming into your home. Rely on air conditioning to cool down your home.
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    Get an air-purifier that uses an ionizer. Ozone (O3) kills many forms of mold, fungi, and bacteria but can be toxic in high levels. Since you won’t be able to fully air out the area, an air-purifier that attracts negatively charged ions (most allergens) rather than ozone gas should be better.[9]
    • There are air-purifiers that come with a UV light which is effective at killing mold and mildew as well.
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    Eliminate damp areas that may support the growth of mold and mildew. Clean areas in the bathroom or kitchen that may be prone to mold and mildew. There are a number of approaches you can take. Clean areas with either:[10]
    • Pure white vinegar. Pour into a spray bottle and spray onto any area that may be inviting to mold and mildew — any area that may be damp, warm and dark. Leave on for 15–30 minutes and wipe away
    • A solution of one part bleach and nine parts water. Spray onto problem areas and let stand for 15–30 minutes and wipe away.
    • A mixture of tea tree oil and water. Mix 1 ounce of tea tree oil with 2 cups of warm water. Shake well. Spray onto problem areas and let stand for 15–30 minutes and wipe away. You can mix tea tree oil with carpet shampoo solutions as well. Use 1 ounce of tea tree oil for each gallon of carpet shampoo
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    Clean out all of your cupboards and closets. Cupboards and closets are good hiding places for mold and mildew. Check under sinks for leaks and any mold or mildew formation. Clean and air out these spaces as well as you can.
    • Wash all of the clothing in your closets. Use a dryer rather than line-drying your clothes. Use a damp paper towel to wipe down all of your shoes as well.

Method 3
Reducing Your Exposure to Outdoor Allergens

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    Sign up for allergy alert emails for your area or search for local pollen counts. You can use allergy alert emails and local pollen count searches to find out when you should avoid going outside. Doing so may also help you to identify the best days to plan your outdoor activities.[11]
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    Stay inside during the hours between 5am and 10am. The hours between 5am and 10am are when pollen counts are at their highest. Since pollen is responsible for many different types of allergies, planning ahead to avoid spending time outside between 5am and 10am should help to reduce your symptoms.[12]
    • Plan to stay inside on warm, dry mornings and on windy days as well. Pollen counts are also higher in these conditions.
    • Spend time outside after it rains. The best time to go outside is after a rain. The rain “washes” out the pollen so you are less likely to experience allergy symptoms in these conditions.
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    Take precautions to minimize allergens when you must spend time outdoors. In some situations, you may not be able to avoid spending time outdoors during allergy season. There are several things that you can do to help reduce your exposure to allergens when you spend time outside.[13]
    • If your allergies are severe, try using a surgical mask to prevent breathing in pollen.
    • Wear sunglasses to help protect your eyes from pollen.
    • Wear a hat to minimize the allergens that get stuck in your hair.
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    Change your clothes before you come back into the house. After spending time outside, you can reduce the amount of allergens that you spread around your house by changing your clothes right after you come indoors. When you get back inside, change your clothes and wash them right away. Then take a shower or bath and put on some fresh, clean clothes.[14]

Method 4
Adjusting Your Diet and Lifestyle

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    Increase your intake of high-flavonoid foods. High flavonoid foods have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help with your allergies.[15] These same foods are high in the substances quercetin and rutin. Quercetin and rutin are natural antihistamines. High flavonoid foods include:
    • Berries
    • Red peppers
    • Citrus fruit
    • Bananas
    • Pears
    • Apples
    • Onions
    • Almonds
    • Leafy green vegetables
    • Olive oil
    • Almonds
    • Green tea
    • Herbal teas such as parsley, nettles, and sage
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    Take supplements to help strengthen your immune system. Some naturopaths believe that a weak immune system may make it easier for allergens to affect you. Incorporate some daily supplements into your diet to help strengthen your immune system.
    • Add a multi-vitamin. Find a high potency multi-vitamin and take it every day with food and a glass of water.
    • Add probiotics to your diet. Have one container of yogurt (with active cultures) every day or take a probiotic supplement
    • Add Vitamin C to your supplement list. Vitamin C is another antioxidant and can help reduce reactions to allergens.[16]
    • Add Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory agents and can help to reduce the symptoms of allergies
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    Consider using herbs as teas or as supplements.[17] There are several different herbs that may help you to prepare for allergy season and reduce your symptoms when the season arrives. Talk to a knowledgeable healthcare professional first, especially if you are taking any medications, including antihistamines. Herbs can either increase or decrease the effects of some medications, so it is important to check with your physician first.
    • Dong quai (Angelica sinensis)
    • Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) — especially for allergic reactions affecting the eyes
    • Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica)
    • Quercetin and rutin can be taken as a supplement, usually starting six to eight weeks before allergy season. Don’t take quercetin or rutin if you have liver disease.[18]
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    Get moderate exercise. Exercising for 30 minutes three to four times a week has been shown to be effective in reducing allergies. Exercise indoors on high pollen count days and take precautions to reduce your exposure to allergens on days that you exercise outside.
    • Swimming in chlorinated pools can make allergies worse.[19]
    • Listen to your body and be aware of your symptoms. For some people, exercise may induce allergies and asthma attacks.[20]


  • Try using a neti pot to rinse your nasal passages. A neti pot uses saline solution (salt water) to help remove congestion brought on by allergies.
  • Seasonal allergies are common in children and usually show up after the child is two years old.

Article Info

Categories: Allergies and Immunization