It's a beautiful time of year at the Jersey Shore...temps are rising, birds are chirping, everything's in bloom...which means if you suffer from allergies, like me, it's not always easy to enjoy it.

With pollen levels near the max, here are some basic tips to get through allergy season.

Tree pollen levels are so high, a "local pollen alert" has been issued. I didn't even know that existed.

What I do know is that a box of tissues is my new best friend and my eyes are so itchy I want to claw them out. So what seems to help me, aside from popping a Claritin-D?

  • Drink More Water

    We hear this all the time, but drink lots of water. You drink more, you go more. Flushing the system out and whatnot. It can be a tad inconvenient, but hey, do what you gotta do!

    Greg Riegler, Flickr
  • Shower Before Bed

    Some people can't fathom starting their day without a shower...if you're one of them, you might just have to do two a day then. Here's why: walking around all day, you're a pollen magnet. It's in the air, whether you see and feel it or not. It's in your hair, it's on your clothes, and if you don't wash it off, it will be on your pillows. You breathe deeply as you sleep, so you can just imagine what a night of that will mean for you in the morning. No bueno.

    Flickr user Joelk75
  • Take Your Shoes Off

    This goes along with the showering before bed thing. You're tracking all kinds of stuff into your house with your shoes, including pollen. The closer you leave them to the door, the better.

    Brooke Raymond, Flickr
  • Close Your Windows

    I know, it's nice out, and you figure you'll open the windows to get some fresh air and ventilation. No. You open the windows and the pollen comes in. Even if you have an air purifier, they only work well when the windows are closed.

    Rachel Kramer, Flickr
  • Use Cold Compresses

    If your eyes get like mine, you wind up with watery, itchy, puffy eyes that leave your friends and coworkers convinced you've been partaking in some...recreational activities...on your lunch break. Hey, to each his own, but we can all agree that's not a good look for anyone. If you can help it, avoid rubbing your eyes at all costs. Fold a paper towel, wet it with super cold water, and lay down with it on your eyes for 10 minutes. It should reduce the itching and swelling. (I'd also recommend one of those gel eyes masks straight from the fridge. Bonus? Built-in Halloween costume!)

  • Use A Neti Pot

    I consider this a last resort, because to be honest, they are sort of gross and freak me out just a little, but they get the job done. It looks like a teapot, you fill it with water, stick the end in one nostril, tilt your head, and watch the water come out the other nostril...along with the pollen and such. It's also a neat party trick!

    Denise Mattox, Flickr