If you suffer from hay fever, you will be all too familiar with the range of misery that goes with it, including sneezing, coughing and itchy eyes, nose and throat.

Some people with hay fever experience only have mild bouts of these symptoms periodically. Others, however, can find themselves bombarded with serious discomfort that begins with the very first signs of spring and doesn't let up until the onset of the frost in late fall.

Seasonal Allergies

The fact is that hay fever isn't really any allergy to hay, but rather refers to seasonal allergic rhinitis, which is a condition that affects many people during the spring, summer and fall. It is commonly caused by the pollen released into the air by trees, plants and grasses.  The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says that as many as 35 million Americans are affected by this condition.

If you fall into this group, regardless of how severe your symptoms are, you are probably desperate for some ideas that can help you to manage and even prevent your next attack.

Identify Triggers

If you think there are things in the air or the environment that are causing your hay fever symptoms to flare, the first step in finding allergy relief for hay fever is to identify those things that set your symptoms into motion. Some people find that keeping track of this information on paper helps to reveal patterns that make it easier to discover what you are doing and when, so you can determine what caused your attack.  

Consider buying a pocket calendar and use it to mark down what you experience and when so you can find out the settings, activities and times of year that seem to bother you the most. Also keep in mind that throughout the season, the type of pollen you experience may change, notice any differences in your symptoms.

Make Strategic Changes

Once you determine some of the circumstances that trigger your immune system to react, you can then take some steps try to eliminate these items in your living space and daily environment. Here are some ways you can minimize seasonal triggers to keep your symptoms at bay:

  • Consider altering your routine to find relief from your worst symptoms. For instance, if a high pollen count in the middle of the day interferes with your activities, try getting up earlier, or saving your exercise until late afternoon or early evening. Such simple changes can go a long way.
  • Pay attention to the weather. On warm, windy days more pollen is often contained in the air. Check the local forecast to find out what is expected for the coming day and make your plans accordingly.
  • Hire someone to do your yard work to minimize your exposure to grass and tree pollen. Mowing the lawn can be especially difficult if grass is one of your triggers. You may also need to steer clear of a freshly mowed lawn in your own yard and in public places, since this can cause your symptoms to flare.
  • Keep your windows closed at home and in your car and use your air conditioning. Also make sure your vents are closed, so no pollen gets into the air.
  • After spending time outdoors, make sure to wash your clothes and your hair any allergy triggers that may linger there.

Take Medication Preventatively

If managing your environment alone isn't enough to head off your hay fever, you should also talk to your doctor about using medication as well to keep your symptoms in check. Some of the latest over-the-counter or prescription medications, which are available orally or in nasal spray or eye drop form, can make a real difference.