If you’re prone to allergies, you know that there are certain seasons, such as the spring, that trigger an onset of symptoms. As soon as the buds begin opening, your sinuses begin closing, and you settle in for a long few months of sneezing, itching, rubbing your eyes and blowing your nose.
Yet, did you know there could also be elements inside your home that trigger your allergies? From dust to mold, there are myriad factors to consider many of which could be causing or even exacerbating your current allergy symptoms. Today, let’s take a look at four ways you can reduce your exposure to these harmful contaminants and take steps toward a happier and healthier home.
1. Understand what you’re up against.
Before you start researching ways to control your indoor allergens, it’s important to know which ones you’re actually facing. For instance, solutions designed to help those allergic to pet dander won’t do much good if you don’t have an animal in the house. So, start by taking inventory of your current dwelling to determine which factors could be triggering your allergic reaction.
Some of the most common household allergens include pets, carpet fibers (especially on wall-to-wall installations), stuffed animals or soft furniture, houseplants, bedding and pillows.
2. Eliminate the sources you can.
Of course, you might not be able to rip up your old carpet and install new hardwoods just yet. Still, if you have any of the above offending items in your home, it’s worth checking to see if removal is feasible. You might notice that many of the items are ones stuffed with synthetic materials. If these items ever become wet or even just slightly damp, they can be hotbeds for mold and mildew that, over time, could become harmful to your health.
If your throw pillows have seen better days, for instance, it might be time to upgrade them. Or, if your children have outgrown their beloved stuffed animals, take a picture of them holding them for nostalgia’s sake and then discard or donate them rather than store them in a musty attic or basement.
3. Invest in an air purifier.
If you’re still experiencing an allergic reaction, it might be time to invest in an air purifier or special air conditioning system designed to pull excessive moisture from the house, which could be another trigger for your symptoms. In this case, these devices are designed to help improve the overall quality of the air and can make a major difference in how well you can breathe indoors. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend a ton of money overhauling your existing HVAC system to start reaping these benefits. Rather, you can install one or two purification systems in strategic areas within your home and notice the improved air quality immediately.
4. Clean and dust regularly.
One of the simplest things you can do to control indoor allergens is to stick to a consistent cleaning schedule. It doesn’t take too long for dust mites to accumulate on surfaces and when they do, they become a breeding ground for other offenders. If you’re in the process of designing your home, stick to hardwoods and avoid wall-to-wall carpet if possible. If you require carpet, opt for a low-pile one that’s less shaggy and less prone to infestation. On your pillows, be sure to use allergen-resistant covers, or plastic ones wherever possible. The same goes for your mattress and box spring. Then, when you wash your bedding, make sure the water temperature is 130 degrees Fahrenheit or higher to kill as many germs as possible.
In addition, be sure to vacuum regularly, at least once or twice a week. If you have pets, clean up their fur daily, wash and dry their toys weekly and keep them out of your bedroom to the greatest extent possible.
This list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a great way to jumpstart your allergen awareness. By taking these simple steps above, you can be that much closer to a healthier home, where you can live, work, play and breathe freely.