Allergic rhinitis, better known as “hay fever,” is your body’s response to allergens. This causes uncomfortable symptoms, ranging from sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and sinus pressure, to itchy eyes and skin, watery eyes, and cough. Hay fever risk tends to be highest during peak allergy seasons, such as the spring and summer months, but depending on your own triggers, you may suffer year-round.

If you think hay fever is linked to outdoor allergens, then you are partly correct. Pollen from trees, grasses, and ragweed are common hay fever triggers, as well as outdoor mold spores. However, staying indoors may not always help prevent hay fever if you’re allergic to substances inside your home. These include animal dander, dust mites, tobacco smoke, and cockroaches. It’s also possible for outdoor allergens to get inside of your home.

The first step to addressing hay fever is to identify your triggers via allergy testing. Once you know what you’re allergic to, you can then determine how to manage your symptoms while staying indoors. Here’s a few tips to get started:

  • 1. Close all windows and doors

If outdoor allergens trigger your hay fever symptoms, then simply staying indoors unfortunately isn’t enough. You also need to keep windows and doors closed to prevent pollen and mold spores from entering your home. If you must open your windows, do so during the early morning hours only before pollen counts hit their peak at midday.

  • 2. Clean your house on a regular basis

Cleaning is essential to removing both indoor allergens as well as outdoor allergens that may sneak in into your home. Be sure to vacuum, mop, and clean all bedding and upholster once a week. If you have pets, be sure to bathe them weekly too—even if you’re not allergic to animal dander, there’s a chance that pollen can stick to their fur.

  • 3. Wash your face and nasal passages

Taking a shower every day is a must, especially after being outdoors during pollen season. You can also minimize your hay fever symptoms by removing irritants from your nose and eye area. Wash your face twice daily, including once before bed to avoid spreading allergens onto your pillow and sheets.

In the case of severe congestion and runny nose, you may consider rinsing out your nasal passages everyday with a saline solution. Doing so removes allergens from the inside of your nose. Options include a traditional neti pot, a battery-powered nasal irrigation system, or a saline spray bottle.