Woman sneezing in front of blooming treesPhoto: Africa Studio (Shutterstock)

Spring allergies are on the way if they haven’t started yet. Pollen from trees has a tendency to blow in the wind early in springfollowed by pollen from grasses a month or two later. If your eyes aren’t itching just yet, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself.

Ask your doctor

If you see an allergist regularly – or if you haven’t but intended to – book an appointment. You will find it easier to avoid the specific things that you are allergic to knowing what they are, and an allergy test can help you figure out if pollen is really your main concern, or if your allergies are more related to mold or mildew connected are dust. Different trees and plants bloom at different times, so a little knowledge can go a long way in preventing allergens.

Refill any prescription drugs that may have been used in the past year. Meanwhile, ask about the best time to start taking. Antihistamines work best when you take them before symptoms appear. As a result, some providers recommend taking your medication about two weeks before your allergies occur. If you’re not sure what date this should be, take notes this year and set a reminder on your calendar for the next year.

Do a spring cleaning

Dust is another common allergen, and dust can also contain pollen grains that have been blown in or detected from outside. Cleaning your home can help remove these allergens, regardless of what they are. Wear a dust mask like an N95 or similar if you have one to prevent you from breathing in the dust that you are raising up.

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Mold spores are another common allergen, and spring rains and damp weather can increase the amount of mold in your home. So keep an eye out for moldy spots on walls that need cleaning or moldy items that are better off in the trash.

Also change the air filter on your stove or air conditioner. (Many are recommended to be changed every three months, but read the instructions for yours.) If you have an air purifier, check its filters as well.

Read our room-by-room tips Allergy-safe for your home this springThis ranges from small things like holding your dog’s pollen-laden fur off the bed to big things like wondering if it’s time to tear up your carpets and move to hardwood floors.

Illustration for article titled How To Prepare For This Year's Allergy Season

Observe pollen counts

Pollen blows around the most on dry, windy days, but rain tends to wash it away temporarily. Most weather services will provide you with a pollen count and even a pollen forecast. Some even divide the forecast types into pollen from trees, grass and ragweed. (Ragweed is a fall allergy.)

If the pollen count is high, stay indoors with the windows closed. As nice as a breath of fresh air may be, for your allergies it is better to only use an indoor fan or to set the air conditioning one level higher.