Health experts are predicting that this fall will be a doozy of a season for allergy sufferers. The biggest offenders: ragweed and other weeds are in full bloom and the wet conditions ushered in by Hurricane Isaac will bring plenty of mold as well. How can you find relief? Here are the top five ways to beat fall allergies:
1. Take care. Allergy season is rough on sufferers, causing itchy eyes, headaches, congestion and coughing. Minimize symptoms by making sure you get plenty of rest, drink lots of water during the day, and avoid alcohol and tobacco products as much as possible.
2. See your doc. Before you reach for those over-the-counter meds, check in with your health care provider. She can offer the best advice on avoiding the allergens you are particularly sensitive to and make recommendations for medications that may work best. If your symptoms are severe, avoiding medication can lead to more serious conditions such as asthma or a sinus infection.
3. Avoid other allergens. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's also one of the most over-looked methods for reducing allergy symptoms. Your body is on red alert during allergy season, so allergens that might not normally affect you — like pets, mold or fragrances — might suddenly become a problem. Vacuum area rugs frequently to remove pet dander, get rid of air fresheners with phony scents, and use a dehumidifier in the basement to prevent mold.
4. Watch the clock. You don't have to completely hide indoors during allergy season, but it is a good idea to avoid outdoor play when pollen is at its peak, between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.
5. Suck it up. If your allergies are severe, consider swapping in your regular vacuum for one with a HEPA filter that can trap even the tiniest allergen particles. And vacuum the whole house frequently to keep indoor allergens at bay.
Related allergy remedy story on MNN: How to get rid of allergies