Ragweed, one of the most common summer/fall allergy triggers, usually arrives in mid to late August, bringing with it much sneezing and congestion. For those with asthma, it may make symptoms worse or even trigger asthma attacks. Fortunately, there are some things you can do and some things you should avoid doing to help keep your allergic reaction under control.

Don’t go outdoors between 10am and 4pm.

This is when pollen counts are at their highest. Of course, you can’t always avoid going outside, but minimizing it should help.

Don’t bother wearing a surgical mask.

As it turns out, they’re not that great at keeping pollen out of the air you breathe. To really avoid breathing pollen, you’d need to wear a hazmat suit and that’s probably overkill.

Don’t leave your doors/windows open.

Indoor air typically has a lot less pollen than outdoor air. And if you keep your doors and windows shut, it will stay that way.

Do use your air conditioner.

Not only do air conditioners cool you off, they also filter your air. Speaking of which--

Do change/clean your air filters every three months.

Your air filters will be much less effective if they’re covered in dirt, so be sure to change or clean them semi-regularly.

Do change your clothes after going outside.

By changing into new clothes after spending time outdoors, you’ll keep any pollen your clothes collected away from you. It’s also a good idea to shower at night rather than in the morning, so you don’t bring the pollen collected on your skin and in your hair to bed with you.