Q. My allergies are awful. Apart from medication, what can I do in my house to ease the misery?

A. Here's what we suggest you do to help fight bad allergies: A good vacuum is a must. We recommend the Kenmore Progressive 21614 bagged canister, $300, with HEPA filtration (which captures dust) and the Miele Dynamic U1 Twist bagged upright, $450, which comes with a microfiltration filter and optional HEPA filter. Both do well at capturing fine dust without releasing it back into the air, and also do a good job with pet hair, says Dave Trezza, who leads our vacuum tests.

An air purifier might help, too. The portable Honeywell HPA 300, $250, did best in our lab tests at removing dust, pollen, and smoke. But skip ionizing air cleaners because they create potentially harmful indoor ozone levels and can worsen asthma.

Bedding covers can minimize allergies caused by dust mites. Our experts say to look on the label for “woven fabric” of a maximum of 6 micrometers or microns, indicators that the material will actually keep allergens from escaping. (We haven’t tested those covers.)

You’ll also want to avoid products that can make allergies worse. They include scented products, such as air fresheners, candles, and many cleaning products, as well as personal-care items such as hair spray, nail polish, and perfume.

If you’re still suffering, consider taking over-the-counter loratadine, the generic version of Claritin, which is one of the top-rated medications according to our Best Buy Drugs analysis. Our experts evaluate drugs for safety, efficacy, and price; go to CRBestBuyDrugs.org to learn more.

Send your questions to ConsumerReports.org/askourexperts.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the June 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.