• Find out what the peak pollen season is for your region. Different plants thrive in different various parts of the country, so you need to know what's happening in your neighborhood.

  • Keep a diary. An allergy sufferer might be sensitive to one particular kind of tree pollen, to every kind of weed pollen, to all kinds of pollen, or to pollen, mold, mites, dust, perfume, cats or dogs. Keep track of when, where, and how you are suffering, in order to help you and your allergist identify the specific characteristics of your condition.

  • Watch pollen forecasts. Visit pollen.com and plug in your zip code. You'll get a pollen count analysis of your neighborhood, and they'll even send you free e-mail alerts.

  • Don't go out during the worst times. It might be helpful to know that plants are busiest churning out the bad stuff between 5 and 10 a.m. and just before dusk. Also, be aware that pollen concentrations are higher on warm, windy days (the heat stimulates production and the breeze spreads it around). Wet, cloudy days are safer, as the moisture washes pollen out of the air.

  • Keep the windows of your home and car shut. Make use of air conditioning and change the filters regularly.

  • When you come inside on a high-pollen-count day, you're probably covered in invisible pollen, so change your clothes, and if you're having a really bad day, maybe take a shower and wash your hair. Same goes for your pet.

  • Keep your grass cut short - this reduces pollination. But don't do it yourself, since mowing stirs up whatever is there already. Don't line-dry sheets or clothes outdoors.

  • Avoid travel in "the country" during peak pollen season and at harvest time.

  • Tips for gardeners: Consider wearing a mask, and do your work in the mid-afternoon when concentrations are lowest. When you're planning a garden, be aware of what the good and bad plants are. A good rule of thumb is that the more colorful the flower, the better. Brightly colored flowers are insect-pollinated rather than wind-pollinated.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW manage your hay fever?