This Allergy Season Might Be One of the Worst Ever -- Here's How to Protect Yourself

by Lisa Hirsch Lozano 3:06 PM, April 11, 2017

Aired April 12, 2017

It’s spring! Which means it’s that delightful time of year when everyone has to carry around a box of kleenex and allergy medicine in their bag. But could you be doing more to help prevent your allergy symptoms? Dr. Tania Elliott, medical director at Doctor on Demand, is here with eight simple do's and don’ts.

“There may be some things that you’re doing that may be making your allergies worse without even knowing it,” she says, noting, “Last year was the worst pollen count season of all time, this year’s kinda gonna be worse.” Read on for her advice.

Do: Cover Your Pillow + Mattress

Dust mites, the most common indoor allergen according to Dr. Elliott, can live in your bed. She recommends getting dust-mite-proof covers for your pillows, mattress and box spring.

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Don’t: Eat Certain Foods When Your Allergies Are Bad

Certain foods (think red wine, cheese and salami) are high in histamine content, so on days when your allergies are really bad, Dr. Elliott says you should avoid these foods. However, foods like ginger, onion, garlic and cayenne pepper are actually good to eat when your allergies are acting up, because they help clear your sinuses.

Do: Start Your Allergy Medicines Early

She recommends to start taking your medication two weeks before your seasonal allergies typically start, so you can hopefully avoid any symptoms.

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Don’t: Wear Contacts

Dr. Elliott says that contact lenses are magnets for pollen. So, it’s best to wear your spectacles during allergy season.

Do: Wash Your Eyelashes

Wait… you’re probably thinking, did I read that right? Yes you did. Dr. Elliott says that pollen can get stuck in your eyelashes, so she recommends putting baby shampoo on a cotton ball and wiping them down, then rinsing thoroughly, after being outside.

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Don’t: Wear Hair Products

Leave-in hair products that make your hair sticky can help pollen fasten itself to your mane. (Yikes!) So do without the products when your allergies are bad.

Do: Clean + Replace Air Conditioner Filters

Dr. Elliott recommends replacing your air conditioner filters once every three months, and giving them a good scrubbing before you turn on the AC for the first time in the spring or summer.

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Do: Take Off Your Clothes + Take a Shower When You Walk in the House

Been walking around outdoors collecting pollen? Dr. Elliott recommends taking off your clothes immediately when coming inside, and either throwing them in a closed hamper or washing immediately. Then, she recommends showering to get all those excess particles off your skin and hair.