Sometimes, your sinuses just can't catch a break. It seems like just yesterday that allergy sufferers across the nation were struggling through a spring “pollen tsunami.” Now, just when you've finally stopped sniffling and sneezing, it's time for ragweed season and a whole new round of crippling allergies. Read on for some tips on how to shore up your home's ventilation, heat and air conditioning system and protect your indoor air quality so you don't spend all autumn carrying around a box of tissues.

Billions of Pollen Grains in the Air

About 10 to 20 percent of Americans suffer from ragweed allergies, also called hay fever, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Ragweed can be found all over the United States, although it is most prevalent in the East and Midwest. A single plant can produce up to a billion grains of pollen, which explains why these pesky allergens are so omnipresent. Come late summer, when the ragweed flowers start to release their pollen, it seems like it gets everywhere. When the runny noses and itchy eyes start up again, it's a sure sign that ragweed is back in the air.

Worse yet, ragweed pollen can be more than just a mere nuisance for people who suffer from severe allergies. People who are heavily affected can experience headaches, have trouble sleeping and suffer asthma attacks when pollen levels are high. Fortunately, while going outdoors in the fall can be miserable for allergy-prone people, you can take steps to protect your indoor air quality and create a safe haven in your home.

Heat and Air Conditioning to the Rescue

Pollen can come into your home on your clothes, on your pets, and through open doors and windows. That means it's important to have a good ventilation system when pollen counts are high so you can filter the irritants out of the air before they get into your respiratory system. The good news is that ventilation is an important part of most heat and air conditioning systems, so you may already have the tools you need. If you have a central air conditioner, get the highest-rated air filter you can find to remove pollen from the air, and clean or change it regularly to keep the allergens from building up.

You can also set the fan on your heat and air conditioning system to “on” as opposed to auto, which will keep the air circulation going throughout your home even when the HVAC equipment isn't actively heating or cooling. If you don't use forced-air HVAC, consider installing a stand-alone ventilator with a high HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) rating so you can still keep the air filtered and clean.

Service Your Ventilator for Top Performance

If you need more tips about protecting your indoor air quality during ragweed season, or any help servicing your heat and air conditioning system, contact your local trusted HVAC expert today.