If you’re like many people, improving weather conditions, warmer temps and longer days have you yearning to spend more time outdoors. But if you suffer from spring allergies, you may opt to stay inside instead of having to battle sniffling and sneezing, itchy and watery eyes or a scratchy throat.

No one wants to be stuck indoors when it’s nice outside, so rather than giving in to pesky spring allergies, here are 6 tips that will help you enjoy the great outdoors:

  1. Check allergen levels. Know what triggers your allergies (flowers, grasses, trees, weeds, mold, dust, etc.) and check allergen levels before heading out. You can usually find allergy forecasts on your local television station or online. Dry and windy days are typically the worst for spring allergy sufferers but going out after a soaking rain can be better. Pollen counts are usually highest in late morning and early afternoon so head outside later in the day.
  2. Cover up. Allergens trigger symptoms when they get into your eyes, throat and nasal passages. So cover eyes with glasses to keep allergens out. Wear a hat to keep pollen out of your hair. Take a shower and wash your hair before going to bed, so you don’t transfer allergens to your bed.
  3. Avoid activities that trigger symptoms. If cutting the lawn or gardening leaves you wheezing, leave those chores to someone else. If a walk in the park makes you teary-eyed, stick to neighborhood streets or hit the gym. Although you may love to be outdoors at this time of year, some days it’s just better to change your plans when allergen levels are unbearable.
  4. Leave the outdoors outside. When you head inside, remove your shoes at the door and change your clothing right away. This will help prevent the spread of allergens throughout the house, which can trigger symptoms even once you’re indoors. Keep in mind that your dog may also be tracking pollen and other allergens around the house.
  5. Keep indoor air clean. To prevent pollen from entering the house, keep windows and doors closed. Change HVAC filters on a regular basis and keep vents clean. If dust is a trigger, vacuum and wash rugs often. Change sheets weekly and wash in hot water. Use HEPA filters or invest in an air purifier.
  6. Relieve symptoms. If you suffer from allergies, it’s unlikely you’ll get through the whole spring season without experiencing symptoms. But don’t let your symptoms prevent you from doing the things you love. There are over-the-counter allergy medications that help relieve some symptoms, such as antihistamines and decongestants. If that’s not enough, talk to your doctor about prescription medications but make sure to talk to a doctor about any medications prior to taking.