CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Approximately 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies.

Whether it’s trees, grass or ragweed causing allergy symptoms, one thing is for sure – it’s best to leave outdoor allergens outdoors.

Cleveland Clinic allergist Sandra Hong, M.D., said one way outdoor allergens make their way inside are on our furry friends.

“If you have pets, they’re covered in the pollen, so, once you bring them in, and you’re hugging on them, you’re definitely going to have pollen indoors,” Dr. Hong said. “And if they sleep with you -- it’s like you’re bringing the tree into your home.”

To keep dogs and cats from bringing outdoor pollens in the home, Hong said it’s best to bathe them regularly.

It’s also a good idea to keep pets out of the bedroom at all times, and especially out of the bed.

Dr. Hong reminds people that allergens can travel on our clothes and skin too.

So it’s wise to shower before climbing into bed, to avoid bringing the allergens into bed.

If folks find that their eyes get very irritated during allergy season, she said wearing protective goggles while outdoors, or protective eyewear, can help keep pollen out of the eyes.

And to keep allergens from camping out in the sinuses, Dr. Hong recommends using a saline spray.

“One of the things I’ve really had my patients consider doing is getting some sort of saline spray -- it’s like giving your sinuses a bath,” she said. “If you actually rinse out the pollens, once you’ve come into your home, they’re not going to sit in there all night long causing allergy symptoms.”

Hong said keeping windows closed during allergy season is a must for those who have an allergy sufferer in the home. It’s also a good idea to keep car windows shut when pollens are especially active.

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