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Get rid of your seasonal allergies

If you suffer from springtime allergies, there are five surprising ways you may be aggravating your suffering -- fruits and vegetables, air filters, fresh air, procrastination, and self-medication.

health and fitness Updated: Mar 09, 2012 11:45 IST

If you suffer from springtime allergies, there are five surprising ways you may be aggravating your suffering -- fruits and vegetables, air filters, fresh air, procrastination, and self-medication.

"People with spring allergies often don't realize how many things can aggravate their allergy symptoms so they just muddle along and hope for an early end to the season," said Myron Zitt, M.D., past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), in a release last week. "But there's no reason to suffer. A few simple adjustments in habits and treatment can make springtime much more enjoyable."

What not to do if you have seasonal allergies:

1. Eat certain fruits and vegetables - While this rarely makes a "what not to do" list, if you suffer from seasonal allergies, you may also suffer from pollen food allergy syndrome, "a cross-reaction between the similar proteins in certain types of fruits, vegetables (and some nuts) and the allergy-causing pollen," noted the statement. For instance, if you are allergic to birch or alder trees, you might react to celery, apples, or cherries. Grass allergies? Then tomatoes, potatoes, or peaches may bother you. Talk to your allergist.

2. Use the wrong air filter - Studies show inexpensive air conditioning filters and ionic electrostatic room cleaners aren't helpful, and that the ions released in the latter can be irritants. Look to whole-house filtration systems but change the filters regularly.

3. Open your windows - To keep pollen from drifting inside your house and settling into carpet and furniture, keep your windows shut during allergy season. Also, keep your car windows closed, since pollen can settle into car upholstery as well.

4. Procrastinate - If you have a history of seasonal allergies, get a jumpstart on the condition and begin taking your medications before the season gets underway, stated the ACAAI.

5. Self-medicate - Rather than trying to resolve the problem yourself, talk to an allergist, who can help you determine what is triggering your symptoms and suggest the proper treatment plan.