9 tips for coping with hay fever

PHOTO: 9 tips for coping with hay fever

Trees, grasses and wildflowers bloom and flourish in warm weather. But these beautiful seasons can mean misery for allergy sufferers.

Most people reach for over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to combat their hay fever symptoms. It's important to choose non-drowsy formulas during the day or when you need to stay alert.

If you want to curb your allergies without medicine, here are tips for staying sneeze-free during hay fever season.

1. Keep your windows closed and use air conditioning if you're allergic to pollen. Don't use fans as they can stir up dust. When you're driving, set the air condition (AC) to recirculate air.

2. Filter the air, clean air conditionings vents regularly, and use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter if you have a forced-air furnace. Clean air filters frequently and air ducts at least once a year.

3. Install dehumidifiers to battle mould, which can collect in basements and other areas of the house. Be sure to clean these air-drying devices every week. Air out damp clothes and shoes (in the house) before storing.

4. Avoid wooded areas or gardens as much as possible. You can still admire nature - from farther away.

5. Stay indoors as much as possible on hot, dry, windy days when pollen counts are generally the highest. They are usually the highest between 5 and 10 in the morning.

6. Keep pets out of the house in the hay fever season, or wash them regularly if they live indoors.

7. Wear a mask if you must mow the lawn or work in a garden. An inexpensive painter's mask works.

8. Take a shower after outdoor activities to wash off pollen that may have accumulated.

9. Encourage sports participation for children with allergies or asthma, but inform coaches of medications your child may need to take before activities.