Around 8% of adults in the United States experience hay fever triggered by pollen. Women, however, may be less affected than men, who’ve been found to exhibit higher sensitivity to 11 common allergens, Medical News Today reports. Itchy eyes, scratchy throat, and nasal congestion make allergy season particularly tough for women, yet, fortunately, there are a number of simple yet effective ways to avoid allergens and keep your symptoms under control.

Confirm You Have an Allergy

For many people, allergies can feel like a stubborn cold with chronic nasal congestion. Colds, however, usually pass within one week and don’t improve with allergy medication. So, before you’re able to treat your symptoms correctly, you’ll need to get an allergy test. Ideally, you want to start taking allergy medication (such as decongestants, nasal sprays, or antihistamines) just ahead of allergy symptoms and before your symptoms start to ensure they don’t have the chance to flare up.

Be sure to check your local weather network for pollen forecasts early in the year, and keep it highlighted in your calendar. And, when pollen counts are high, you may even want to stay indoors altogether (some people, when they do go outdoors, prefer to wear a dust mask, particularly when it’s windy). Keep in mind some medications come with side effects, including brain fog, dizziness, and drowsiness.

Eliminate Allergens From Your Home

Seasonal allergies have a host of indoor triggers, such as mold spores, pet dander, pollen, dust, dust mites, and cockroaches. Eliminating allergens from your home is, therefore, key to preventing symptoms. So, for example, switch out your drapes for roller blinds; curtains and drapes are major dust collectors. Additionally, instead of a ceiling fan, use an air conditioner with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter to keep your home cool. HEPA filters trap unwanted allergens and filter clean, allergen-free air into your home.

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Similarly, be careful to avoid cigarette smoke, which can cause hay fever symptoms to flare up. It’s also beneficial to keep your home neat and clean, as clutter attracts dust and other allergens. It’s, therefore, smart to keep any decorative items to a minimum and, even better, place them in glass displays. And, during allergy season, you’ll find it useful to keep your doors and windows closed as much as possible.

Try Out Alternative Treatments

Although alternative treatments for allergies haven’t yet been well-studied, you may want to try them out for yourself to see if they provide you with any relief. Vitamin C, for example, offers antihistamine properties and may help keep mild symptoms like congestion, sneezing, watery eyes, and runny nose at bay. Alternatively, Lactobacillus acidophilus is a good bacteria commonly found in yogurt or probiotic supplements. It may be beneficial in lowering your response to common allergens, including pollen.

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Although allergies can be miserable for women, they’re fortunately completely treatable. By confirming your diagnosis, eliminating allergens from your home, and trying out alternative treatments, you can successfully keep pesky allergy symptoms at bay.