by Sharon Liao
You've battled allergies for years, so you have a routine down pat: Take your meds and reach for the tissues. But experts say that there are a few everyday lifestyle habits that may be aggravating your symptoms. Are you unknowingly triggering your own sneezes and sniffles?
Read on to uncover five sneaky culprits.
Sneaky culprit No. 1: The fruit bowl
People with grass or ragweed allergies may also suffer from oral allergy syndrome, where your body mistakes similar proteins in fruit as allergens, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. If your lips tingle or throat gets scratchy every time you bite into a peach, melon, apple or another fresh fruit, you may need to steer clear of that particular piece of produce.
Sneaky culprit No. 2: Potted plants
Mold can grow in damp soil (or the damp rug beneath that ficus), which can irritate a mold allergy. Place your greenery on a hard surface to catch the water. You can also place pebbles on top of the soil to prevent mold from developing.
Sneaky culprit No. 3: A change in weather
A spike or drop in the temperature can trigger an asthma attack, while a windy day can stir up sniffle-causing pollen. Before you head on a long hike post-storm, spend a little time in your backyard to see how you adjust to the conditions.
Sneaky culprit No. 4: The swimming pool
Although it's not an allergen, the chlorine in the pool's water can irritate eyes and nose vessels. This can worsen your already itchy eyes or runny nose. You may want to steer clear of the pool right after it's been treated with chlorine.
Sneaky culprit No. 5: You always wear your hair down
Each time you go outside, pollen clings to your clothes and hair. To prevent those allergens from clinging to your mane all day, tuck your ponytail into a hat before heading out on that run. Also switch out of those clothes in your entryway or mud room, or do your best to shake off particles before stepping inside.