Allergy season of course is in full swing, and doctors say one of the best ways to cope with the symptoms is to first start at home.
Keeping your air filters and your flooring clean is key. Many people suffering allergies just reach for their medicine, but to make sure all the pollen and dust stays out, you have to check your vents.
"You got to keep it clean because it runs so much, and these filters are very important," said Dennis McCullough, service manager Hill & Company, which specializes in heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
As temperatures warm up, an A/C unit will be man's best friend, and the more it runs, the more it can keep dirt and dust out.
"If it's getting dirty, go ahead and change it because it will make a difference in the way you breathe and the way your system breathes," McCullough said.
He says the larger the pleat on your air filter, the more dirt it can trap, and using an electronic air cleaner is your best bet to rid of 99 percent germs that get inside your home. Keep your air ducts sealed and periodically spot check for ductwork damage, and check your humidity.
McCullough says high humidity levels create excess moisture in the air and spread mold growth, increasing the rate of dust mites. Household humidity levels should be around 40 percent, and if it reaches above 60 percent, get a dehumidifier.
"You would actually help your allergies if, rather than leave your AC off, you should turn it on a fan only mode, because then those filters are going to be pulling that stuff out," said Dr. Greg Krempl, an ear nose and throat doctor at OU Medical Center.
Krempl says other ways to keep your home Allergy-free are:
-Shower at night, so you don't bring any dust or pollen to bed
-Change clothes after you garden or do yard work
-Keep coats and boots by the door
-Vacuum regularly or consider getting hardwood or tile floors
-Wash your pets more frequently or keep them outside
-Change or check your air filters every month.
"It's really the only filter that we have, it's your only way to clear that stuff out of your house, it is important to keeping your home both dust-free and allergy free," Krempl said. "If you put in a filtration system, you won't see a change overnight. It will take at least 30 times for it to turn it over, and you have to make sure your vacuum also has a filter on it."
The best remedy is to just stay indoors, but that's impossible for many. Doctors say there is also a very effective nasal spray called Nasacort that is now available over the counter, which helps stop runny noses and decongestion for 24 hours.