Sixty million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. And there are a lot of things that can make your allergies worse that you probably wouldn't think of. Here are the top seven from "Prevention" magazine . . .

#1.) STRESS. In 2008, researchers at Ohio State University found that people with allergies had worse symptoms after they took a stress test.

So if you're stressed out, compensate by making sure you get enough sleep. Being tired makes your allergies worse all by itself. Plus, it raises your stress level.

#2.) A GLASS OF WINE WITH DINNER. Researchers think the bacteria and yeast in alcohol can produce histamines, which are the chemicals that cause allergy symptoms. And avoiding alcohol can make your symptoms less noticeable.

#3.) WAITING TOO LONG TO TAKE ALLERGY MEDICINE. Antihistamines work best if you take them before you have any symptoms. So you're supposed to start taking allergy meds a few weeks before allergy season begins.

In other words, if you had allergies last Spring, start taking medication now, even if you don't have any symptoms yet.

#4.) WASHING YOUR SHEETS IN COLD WATER. Researchers in South Korea found that washing bed sheets in hot, 140-degree water killed 100% of the dust mites. But a WARM wash at 104 degrees only killed 6.5%.

#5.) HOUSEPLANTS. More than 75% of people with hay fever are also allergic to at least one common houseplant. Researchers found that varieties of ficus, yucca, ivy, palm, orchid, and fern are the most irritating plants for allergy sufferers.

#6.) FRIENDS WHO SMOKE. Just being around cigarette smoke and getting it on your clothing can make your allergies worse. In fact, researchers in Japan studied kids with at least one parent who smoked heavily.

And 80% of the kids showed signs of nasal allergies.

#7.) ONLY SHOWERING IN THE MORNING. Pollen sticks to your clothes and gets stuck in your hair. So if your allergies are bad, jump in the shower as soon as you get home from work, then put on new clothes.

You don't have to take a full shower. Just rinse yourself off.

So there you have it.  Let's see if we can all get a little less sick this summer!

Allergically yours,


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