8 ways to reduce allergens at home

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Friday was officially the first day of spring, and you know what that means: there's a lot of sneezing happening in the Valley right now.

Doctors are reporting that they're seeing more patients than ever with common allergy symptoms, like never-ending headaches, runny noses, and sinus congestion. So how do you combat allergies and keep pollen at bay?

According to Dr. Mendelson, here are eight tips to reduce allergens at home:

1. Sleep with the windows closed, especially in your bedroom. One of the worst places you could open a window is in your bedroom. Open windows invite outside allergens into your home. When your windows are open in your bedroom, you're breathing in those allergens from outside while you sleep.

2. Use air purifiers, especially in your bedroom. Let them run 24 hours a day with the doors closed. You'll be surprised by how much better you breathe and sleep!

3. Wash your hands a lot, and be mindful of not touching your face with your hands.

4. Exercise indoors to keep from being affected by pollen.

5. Keep bedrooms pet-free. Pets have dander, which can trigger allergies. They can also bring allergens into the home from the outdoors. To reduce this from happening, clean pets regularly and consider brushing them as they come in from outside. 

6. Remove feather pillows and comforters from the home.

7. Use allergy dust covers on pillows and mattresses.

8. Use a vacuum with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter. Basically, HEPA is a type of filter that can trap a large amount of very small particles that other vacuum cleaners would simply recirculate back into the air of your home.

Got more allergy questions? Looking for more information about how to determine whether you have an allergy, a cold or the flu? Not sure how to address your allergies? When over-the-counter medications aren't providing enough relief, it may be time to see a primary care physician or specialist.

You'll also want to plan to attend Dr. Mendelson's "Preparing for Allergy Season" event on Wednesday, April 22, from noon to 1 p.m. at the Tempe Public Library, 3500 S. Rural Rd. This event is free and open to the public. To register, call 877-351-WELL (9355).