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Five tips to survive allergy season

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By Joyce Ho
NBC News

Spring's early arrival brought a welcome respite from winter, but for allergy sufferers the warm weather also brings a new round of sniffling and sneezing. New research suggests pollen counts are not only higher this year, but also more potent. 

Taking medication is an option, but there are other ways to cope with the allergen onslaught without simply resorting to pills and prescriptions. So if you're one of the 31 million Americans with seasonal allergies, check out the tips below to help minimize the effects of hay fever.  

1) Keep pollen out of the house: Close windows and doors to prevent the pollen from coming in. Change vents on air conditioners and vents and wash bedding and rugs every week in hot water.  Vacuum two times a week and don’t forget to wear a mask while cleaning or dusting. If you are still experiencing allergies in your house, use a dehumidifier or an air filter indoors.

2) Prevent pollen accumulation on your body: Shower before going to bed because pollen can stick on your clothes and hair, and don't forget to clean your eyeglasses and sunglasses frequently. 

3) Plan your time outdoors: Pollen counts are highest between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. and tend to be lower in the late evening. Pollen also accumulates in the air during warm breezy days as opposed to cool rainy ones. Check the weather and pollen count forecast to schedule your exercise routine and other time outdoors.

4) Cover your eyes and mouth: Some people choose to wear a bandanna and/or goggles while exercising outdoors.

5) Clean your pets: Pets can track in pollen from outdoors, so be sure to groom your pets regularly.

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