Meds, shots, and other tricks to manage spring allergies

Spring is officially here, which will soon mean green grass and budding blooms -- but it also means itching, sneezing, dripping and a little bit of misery for those who deal with seasonal allergies.

Cleveland Clinic allergist doctor Sandra Hong has tips to keep your allergy symptoms under control.

Who doesn't want to open the windows for some fresh air on a warm spring day? But if you suffer from seasonal allergies, doctors advise against it.

"That can also bring the pollens in and make you that much more miserable," says Cleveland Clinic allergist Dr. Sandra Hong.

Allergists recommend making your home a pollen-free zone by keeping windows closed and using air conditioning. Also avoid hanging clothes, sheets and blankets outdoors where they can trap pollen. Experts also suggest taking a shower before bed.

"This will actually clean the pollens off of them so they're not climbing into bed covered in it," says Dr. Hong.

Dr. Hong also tells her patients to keep outdoor pets off the bed.

"They are covered in the pollen and they're basically just going to be snuggling up to you and bringing all of the tree, grass, weed pollens in with them," she says.

If avoiding pollen isn't doing the trick, allergy medications may help. Antihistamines will reduce the itching and sneezing while nose sprays can relieve nasal congestion.

"We actually go to those as our number one treatment for allergies. They not only help with your stuffiness but they'll help with your eye symptoms and the draining down the back of your throat," says Dr. Hong.

If you're looking for a long-term solution, immunotherapy allergy shots or tablets are another option. Both help the body build tolerance to an allergen over time.

It's important to keep in mind that allergy shots and tablets need to be started in advance of allergy season. The tablets are only available for grass and ragweed allergies and need to be started about three months before the season begins.