Can you automatically tell that it’s spring or fall by your allergy symptoms? Like clockwork every March, millions of allergy hay fever suffers develop an annoying runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, post nasal drainage and itchy, watery eyes. Although not a life-threatening health problem these symptoms can be miserable to deal with.

Fortunately, there are some very effective medications available to control the symptoms. The medications are not a cure and the symptoms will recur as soon as the medications are stopped, but they can provide temporary relief. The medications include eye drops, pills, and nasal sprays. All should be used daily during the allergy season. For people with year-round allergies, these medications should be used on a daily basis to prevent symptoms. Several of these options are now available in stores without a prescription. Keep in mind that it may take several days to experience relief from the symptoms. In more severe cases several different allergy medications can be used simultaneously. If you have questions about which medications are best for you to discuss it with your doctor. Here are some tips to make your season allergy  more bearable:

Stay away from environmental triggers

Avoid the outdoor environmental factors which trigger your symptoms. The majority of seasonal allergy is due to outdoor pollen; trees and grass pollen in the spring and summer, ragweed in the fall. When pollen counts are high stay indoors and keep your windows closed. Cool your home with air conditioners and not fans. Limit the time you spend outdoors and remove your clothing as soon as you come inside. If you must go outside wear a protective mask and eyewear when possible.

Keep your indoor area safe

Year-round symptoms are usually due to dust mites, animal dander and mold. To reduce these indoor environmental triggers add a portable HEPA filter to your sleeping area. If you already have a HEPA vacuum, use it. If not, you should buy one. Please see this guide to buying one.

Keep your pets out of your sleeping area and off furniture. For best results consider the addition of a whole house high-efficiency air filtration system. During its installation, they can also vacuum the dust out of your air ducts and vents. To reduce indoor mold and mildew counts use a dehumidifier to keep the humidity below 40 percent. Minimize carpeting in your home since it can serve as a hidden reservoir for all kinds of allergy-provoking substances.

Allergy shots

Consider allergy shots. Allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, can be very effective for controlling the symptoms of allergy hay fever. They’re usually restricted to patients who fail to respond to all other therapies because the process is expensive and time-consuming. In addition, most people don’t enjoy receiving shots on a weekly basis. Many allergy patients require many months of allergy shots to achieve maximum benefit.

Medication pointers

Most of the older, first-generation allergy medications such as Benadryl cause drowsiness. Avoid taking them during the day. Keep in mind that over-the-counter nasal sprays for allergies should only be used for a few days as they can cause rebound nasal congestion and stuffiness. If over-the-counter medications fail to work, see your doctor. There are a variety of prescription options that are effective.

Don’t let those annoying allergy hay fever symptoms keep you on the sidelines. Take steps to get control of your allergies and enjoy the summer.