Sometimes, the best way to reduce the discomfort of an allergy is to avoid exposure to the allergen as much as possible. If you are allergic to cats, for example, avoid visiting the homes of friends who own them. If you must be around a cat, make the visit as short as possible, avoid touching or picking up the animal, and wash your hands when you leave.
Although in some areas it is common to burn household and construction refuse, this may not be such a wise idea. The smoke from burning wood that has been treated with heavy metals or other chemical-laden materials can make anyone gag, but people with allergies or asthma have ultrasensitive respiratory systems, making them even more vulnerable. Also, think twice about any material you burn in the fireplace. Of course, your best bet is to stay away from the fireplace altogether when it's in use.
During pollen season, a grass-allergic person is also better off letting someone else, anyone else, mow the lawn. Call your local county extension service and find out when the pollination season occurs in your area, then arrange for a lawn-care company, friend, or relative to cut your grass during that time. (As a rule of thumb, in many parts of the country, people who are allergic to grass should avoid mowing between May and the Fourth of July.)
For more information about allergies and allergies treatments, take a look at the next page.