Sneezing-compressedDo you find yourself sneezing a lot, with a runny nose and itchy throat? Does it feel like you have a bad cold but then suddenly you feel better–only to be miserable again the next day? Chances are you have one or more fall allergies.

Fall allergies are caused by ragweed, mold, and even dust mites. We’re in the height of the fall allergy season now, and it looks like a bad one. Climate change may be the culprit according a recent study, with warmer weather overall increasing pollen production in allergy seasons.

Regardless of the cause, if you suffer from fall allergies, you’re looking for relief! Here are five suggestions for helping you get through the day without feeling so miserable.

1. Check the pollen count every day. The amount of allergens in the air can vary widely from day to day. Check the pollen forecast so you know what to expect. Pollen forecasts are available from The Weather Channel every day in your area. On bad days, stay indoors if you can and keep your windows closed. The less you expose yourself to pollen-heavy air, the better you’ll feel.

 2. Time your trips if you must go out. Mornings are the worst times for pollen, with afternoons often much better. Plan your trips for later in the day if you must go out. And if you have bad allergies, wear a mask to filter out the pollen. Your local pharmacy has masks on sale for just this purpose. If you feel too self-conscious wearing a mask in public, consider using it when you’re out in your yard or driving your car.

 3. Clean up when you come home. Pollen tends sticks to your clothing and skin, and can have an effect on you long after you return home. Dr. Timothy Craig, a professor and allergy expert at Penn State, recommends changing your clothes, washing your face and hands, or even taking a quick shower. And put the old clothes away in a hamper, not lying out where the pollen can still bother you.

 4. Try allergy medications. There are many over-the-counter allergy medications that work well for many people. Ask your pharmacist for a recommendation. Or if you can’t find relief, see your doctor, who can verify that allergies are indeed the problem and possibly recommend a prescription that would work for you.

 5. Clean your heating systemWebMD recommends giving your heating system a good checkup before it kicks in since old pollen and mold will only make things worse. It’s recommended that you clean vents and change the filter. Consider using an HEPA filter to remove pollen, mold, and other allergens.

There’s no cure for allergies, but there are steps you can take to limit their effects. With proper precautions, you can learn to cope with allergy season and even enjoy the beautiful fall weather now and then!

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