Spring has sprung—and, with it, so has spring allergy season. If you suffer from random sniffles, red eyes, and skin rashes, you may already know that you’re allergic to various pollens that hit the air once things start blooming. Or maybe you assumed those symptoms were due to a passing cold and actually have allergies you’re not aware of yet.

According to Keri Peterson, M.D., when the weather gets warmer, that means all kinds of pollens take to the skies (and your body). The most common culprit? “Beginning in early spring, it’s all about tree pollen,” Peterson says. “More and more patients start coming into my office with symptoms.”

Peterson says there’s a distinct difference between having a cold and having allergies—even though the symptoms often overlap. “A cold lasts no longer than 14 days; allergies last weeks to months,” she says. “If you suspect you have allergies, I definitely recommend to go to a doc or an allergist—you can book an appointment quickly online with ZocDoc. Both can help you with your symptoms, as well as find out what your specific allergies might be, via skin or blood testing.”

And there’s one symptom that’s always due to allergies, never a cold, Peterson says: itchy eyes. “If your eyes itch, it’s because of allergies,” she says. Here are her dos and don’ts for reducing allergy symptoms during this pollen-filled season:

Do remember that allergy pollen counts are usually highest in the morning. “There are allergy-blocking gels that you can apply to help keep pollen out of your nose,” she says. “You can also just try to stay inside on especially pollen-filled days.”

Don’t plan on lots of outdoor activities—such as gardening and mowing the lawn—that attract pollen.

Do “Wear sunglasses when you’re outside, because pollen can actually deposit on your eyelashes,” Peterson says.

Don’t leave your windows open, which lets pollen right into your home. Instead, use air-conditioning, and install a high-quality air purifier.

Do change your clothes when you go inside. “Wearing the same clothes you wore while outside can mean tracking pollen all over your house,” she says.

Don’t leave your doctor’s office without ammunition. She or he can give you prescriptions (or recommendations for over-the-counter medications) that can help quell your symptoms. If she says there is no prescription for your symptoms, be sure to ask about saline sprays that rinse the pollen out of your nose for relief, as well as decongestants, and hydrating eye drops.

Do you have allergies—or suspect that you do?