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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Prevention

You can help prevent attacks of hay fever by reducing your exposure to the suspected allergens. It helps to:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible during months when you know that your hay fever symptoms will flare. Remember that pollen counts tend to be highest before 10 a.m. and after sunset, so schedule any outdoor activities for low-pollen hours. Early afternoon usually is best.

  • Keep windows closed, especially bedroom windows. Run an air conditioner on hot days.

  • While traveling in your car, you should drive with your external vents closed and air conditioning on. Some newer vehicles can be equipped with a high-efficiency air filtration system.

  • Minimize activities with heavy exposure to pollens, such as lawn mowing and leaf blowing.

  • When planning your garden, choose flowers that are bright and colorful, because these colors usually signal that the plant is pollinated by insects rather than by wind.

  • Take a shower or wash your hair before going to bed at night to remove pollen that accumulated during the day.

  • Dry clothes inside, either in a dryer or on a line. Clothing drying on an outside line can gather pollen.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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