Your Allergy Escape Plan: How to Prevent Allergies This Season

It's time to breathe easy.

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This is the year you dodge annoying achoos and actually get to enjoy the season — buds, blossoms, breezes, all of it. Step one: Start inside your house. Surprisingly, our at-home habits can affect symptoms almost as much as the time we spend outside.

Do a Little Spring Cleaning

Indoor dust and mold can aggravate your airways. Then when you go outside, your already irritated nose may be extra sensitive to pollen, says Janna Tuck, MD, an allergist in Cape Girardeau, MO. Wipe down surfaces with microfiber cloths, which trap dust particles instead of stirring them up and back into the air.

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Keep the Air Clear

Smoke, whether from a candle, cigarette, or fire pit, can inflame nasal passages and make your allergy symptoms worse. Ditto for air fresheners, scented cleaners, and even perfume.

Towel Off Your Pets

Cat and dog fur is a magnet for pollen, says David Stukus, MD, an allergist at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. To limit the amount of allergens your critter brings home, wipe its coat with a damp cloth before you both come back in.

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Think Before You Drink

Allergies and alcohol don't mix well. Research has found that people with seasonal allergies are more likely to, say, sneeze or feel stuffy after drinking (especially wine). Steer clear of booze completely on days when allergies are giving you trouble, says Purvi Parikh, MD, an immunologist with the Allergy and Asthma Network.

Watch Out for 'Trigger' Produce

If trees make you sneeze, certain fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, celery, and carrots, could be an issue, too. They contain proteins similar to those found in pollen, which may lead to an itchy mouth, tongue, or throat for some people, says Jonathan Matz, MD, an allergy specialist in Baltimore, MD. Peeling the produce may help, but cooking it can be a better way to sidestep an irritating reaction.

This story originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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