9027830 - poppies on green fieldAh spring — the warmer days, the flowers, sunny days … and the pollen. There’s nothing quite like allergies to ruin a perfectly good spring day. The sneezing, the runny nose and those red, itchy eyes — they all can make you feel absolutely miserable. You don’t have to suffer through allergy season, though. Here are some simple steps that you can take to help care for yourself:

Consider a daily allergy medication. Talk to your physician about taking a daily allergy medicine that you can take year-round or only during the times of the year when your allergies are in full swing. There are oral medications, nasal sprays and eye drops that can help as well. At some times of the year, you may be able to combine more than one type of allergy medicine to provide maximum relief — just make sure to ask your physician before you double up. He or she can help guide you through your treatment options.

Do not rub your eyes. A common sign of allergies is itchy and irritable eyes. It can be easy to try and relieve the suffering by rubbing your eyes, but doing so can also cause damage. Although it may be difficult, avoid rubbing your eyes when they are itchy. In addition to hurting your eyes, rubbing also can introduce bacteria and viruses into your body, which can make you sick. Try eye drops or laying down, closing your owns and covering your face with a clean and cool washcloth.

Drink plenty of water. With hot temperatures in the summer, it is easy to get dehydrated, which can make you feel even more miserable as well as aggravate your allergies. Drink at least 64 ounces of water each day and avoid beverages like soda that can dehydrate you.

Wash that pollen out of your hair and clothes. If you’ve been spending time outside, shower when you return indoors to rinse pollen from your skin and hair. Wash the clothes that you wore outside. Pets also can bring pollen into your home. Groom your pet frequently (outside if possible) during the summer.

Use a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom. That can help clear the air while you’re sleeping. Pollen can migrate indoors through windows and doors, so consider keeping them closed. Make sure your air conditioner filters are replaced or cleaned regularly. You also may want to invest in a vacuum cleaner that’s specifically designed to help with allergies.