As we move into the summer heat, if you are coughing, sneezing with itchy eyes, you may have a seasonal allergy. Nearly 1 in 3 U.S. adults and more than 1 in 4 U.S. children reported having a seasonal allergy, eczema, or food allergy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You are far from alone if a particular time of year hits you harder than others. Even without a diagnosed allergy, you might still struggle through particular times of the year without taking action.

Ready to start fighting your symptoms? You’ll want a long-term prevention strategy to make the most out of each season.

Recognize Seasonal Symptoms

Symptoms are caused by seasonal changes in trees, grass, weeds and mold growth throughout the year, and a smaller percentage will have reactions to triggers like insect bites. Here’s what symptoms can look like year-round:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Hives and rashes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Swelling
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion

In some severe cases, symptoms, or issues caused by symptoms, can be more harmful or even life-threatening if not immediately treated:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Sinus infection
  • Asthma
  • Anaphylaxis (a potentially life-threatening reaction) from seasonal insect allergies

Tips to Help Curb Your Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

#1 Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water sets your body up for success. Based on your age, sex and other factors like pregnancy, doctors recommend drinking 9-13 cups of water in the form of beverages to keep your body topped off. For seasonal symptoms, avoiding dehydration helps your body regulate histamine production and can lessen the intensity of symptoms like runny nose and sore throat.

#2 Keep Doors and Windows Closed

Your home can passively help you combat pollen, mold and dust mites throughout the year. In addition to investing in air filters equipped to capture pollen from the outside, you can give your home a helping hand by keeping windows and doors closed, especially during seasonal allergen hotspots. Open to the outdoors, your central air will struggle to regulate your indoor humidity and heat, which can lead to mold growth in warmer months.

#3 Change Your Clothes, Take a Shower

A simple remedy that will last through any pollen-heavy season is to hop in the shower after spending time outdoors and quarantine those dirty clothes in a hamper or washing machine. Think about it like washing your hands: anything you don’t wash off, you take with you to the couch, the bed and your pillows. This tip could be a game-changer if you often wake up feeling stuffy and heavy.

#4 Kick the Smoking Habit

More than 28 million adults in the U.S. smoke cigarettes. If you are suffering from seasonal allergy symptoms, you should stop smoking right now. This is the bottom line for so many reasons. First and second-hand smoke not only makes existing symptoms worse, but the burning mix of tobacco and chemicals can even be the source of your discomfort. Quitting is hard, but for any smoker, it can be the best first step to fight seasonal symptoms.

“Smoking causes general adverse effects on the body, including inflammation and decreased immune function.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Is It Time to Call a Specialist?

These practices and even some over-the-counter medications can reduce the severity of your symptoms at different times of the year. If you have persistent and uncomfortable symptoms or suspect you have a dangerous or life-threatening allergy, a specialist can help. Getting started with an allergist is easy and can give you the tools you need to make the best out of even your worst season.