Tips for surviving a severe allergy season

Lenny Bernstein / The Washington Post

Published Apr 10, 2014 at 12:01AM

The arrival of warmer weather unleashes a pollen tsunami. Here are some survival tips from Clifford Bassett, an allergy specialist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.

• Wear oversized sunglasses to block airborne pollens and molds.

• Wear a hat, preferably one with a wide brim.

• Avoid outdoor line drying of clothing and bed linens on a high pollen day.

• Consider exercising indoors on very high pollen days. Pollen levels may peak during the midday and afternoon and are generally higher on warm, dry, windy days.

• Get confirmation that you have seasonal allergies, with simple in-office tests.

• Begin treatment with medications such as nasal antihistamines, oral antihistamines, steroids and eye drops even before symptoms start.

• Talk to your doctor about allergy shots, which can slow the progress of allergic disease.

• Shower and shampoo nightly to rinse pollens from skin and hair. Change clothes before entering your bedrooms to keep pollens out.

• At home and in the car, keep the windows closed and set your air conditioner to “recirculate.” Clean filters in room air conditioners frequently. Do not use fans that suck outdoor pollens into your living area.

• Eliminate weeds from your yard and plant allergy-friendly greenery such as azaleas and begonias, palm, pine, fir and dogwood trees; hibiscus, boxwood and yucca shrubs.