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10 Things You Should Do Now to Make Spring Allergies Less Miserable Later

Spring allergies can knock the wind out of you, but if you go into the season prepared, you'll have a much better chance of avoiding the worst of it.

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Replace the filters on your air conditioning units

Having clean air filters is important during every season, but even more so when spring follows a warm winter. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), a milder winter can cause an early release of pollen from certain trees, and this can worsen spring allergy symptoms. A dirty filter on your air conditioning unit can trap pollen and inflame your spring allergies, so to avoid a sneezy summer, make sure to have clean filters put on your air conditioning unit ahead of time.

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Start wearing sunglasses outside

When pollen from trees lands on your eyes, nose, and throat, it can cause allergy symptoms. Boyan Hadjiev, MD, allergist (aka “Dr. Sneeze”) in New York City, says that people should avoid getting pollen in their eyes. “It can cause red itchy eyes, sneezing and sniffling, an itching over the nose, and sometimes a cough,” he says. Sunglasses can prevent pollen from landing in your eyes, so get in the habit of wearing them before spring is in full swing. Find out the 15 things your allergist really wants you to know this spring.

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Stock up on allergy medication early

You don’t want to be in a position of needing allergy relief when you’re already a stuffy, sneezy mess. Plus, allergists often suggest starting allergy medication weeks before peak allergy season hits. (More on that below.) Flonase Sensimist is a new over-the-counter version of the formerly prescription nasal spray—the mist is now finer, enabling the spray to reach higher up in the nasal cavity to areas of the nasal passages that might already be congested. If you stock up on your go-to best allergy medicine, such as Flonase and Allegra, you’ll thank yourself later.

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Start taking your medication early (especially nasal spray)

Nasal spray takes a few days to become effective at treating allergy symptoms, so begin treatment early if you want to avoid the waiting period. Dr. Hadjiev recommends taking medications early too. “If you know that you have allergies, start ahead of time,” he said. “Start one week ahead of when you normally get your symptoms.” Don’t miss the 9 things allergists do to control their allergies.

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Get rid of mold in your bathroom

Clearing out the corners of your bathroom might not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about spring allergy prevention, but it should be high on your list. It’s especially important to get rid of mold, which builds up in bathrooms and basements and is a major allergen,” the ACAAI reports. “Especially in spring months when there’s lots of moisture.”

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Decrease the time you spend outside from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.

If you suffer from spring allergies, you should avoid spending time outside in the early morning because this is the time of day when trees release the most pollen. “The highest amount of pollen is in the morning,” says Dr. Hadjiev. “If you are outdoors in the morning on a jog or run, come home and rinse off after.” These 11 other habits that may make your allergies worse.

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Wash your hair and eyelashes

Dr. Hadjiev says that getting in the habit of washing your hair and cleaning your face before putting on makeup can help prevent allergy symptoms later on. Any sort of hair product can trap pollen, he says. And, “if you put on makeup after morning outdoor routine, be careful to wash your face first,” he said. “Mascara, for example, will actually trap pollen if you haven’t cleaned it off.”

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Try using natural allergy relief methods

Natural extracts can be an effective way of treating allergy symptoms for many people, though they are less reliable than traditional methods. If you’ve never used them before, they can be worth looking into during the pre-allergy season. “They may work, and they may not work, but they are worth trying,” said Dr. Hadjiev. “The most popular I’ve seen is actually a plant called stinging nettle extract.” Here are more natural allergy remedies worth trying.

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No need to change what you eat or drink

While some people do say that dietary changes help with allergy prevention, Dr. Hadjiev says he wasn’t sure that any medical evidence supports that. “A healthy diet is great, but such a broad thing to do. I couldn’t name one thing you can eat to make all your allergies go away,” he says.

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Get allergy shots

Allergy shots can be the solution for people who have serious and recurrent allergy symptoms every year. “If people that know that they are going to have seasonal allergies every year and their symptoms are bad enough, they will benefit from allergy shorts, also known as allergy immunotherapy,” says Dr. Hadjiev. The shots are similar to flu shots, except they are done more than once to build up the small amount of immunity necessary for it to work. These 17 tricks can stop spring allergies from taking over your life.