For some, spring means opening the windows, letting in the fresh air, and basking in the beauty of nature. For others, spring means stocking up on allergy medicine, nasal sprays, and tissues. An unlucky percent of the population suffer from both indoor and outdoor allergies year-round. While antihistamines and some vitamins may help, one of the best ways to reduce the effects of allergies is to take control of the air quality in your home.
Dust mites are microscopic creatures that generally thrive in bedding, upholstered furniture, and carpeting. They are also one of the most common triggers of allergy and asthma symptoms. Thankfully, steps can be taken to reduce the levels of dust mites, especially in the bedroom where they are most common. One of the easiest steps to take is to encase mattresses, box springs, and pillows in plastic, allergen-proof covers. Sheets, comforters, and pillow cases should be washed at least once a week in hot water. Having any carpet removed and hardwood flooring installed is a great way to limit dust mite levels, but may not be feasible for some. If the carpeting cannot be removed, it should be vacuumed once or twice a week with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter. As vacuuming can also blow dust around, wearing a face mask can help reduce allergy symptoms while cleaning.
Many people believe that pet allergies are caused by dog or cat hair when it’s actually the dander and saliva of the animal. Even if a home doesn’t have any pets, there’s a chance that there is pet dander in the home. Dander can stick to clothes, shoes, and hair and can be tracked into a pet-free home. To help reduce pet dander, wash clothes and bedding regularly in hot water. Vacuuming rugs and furniture can help as well. If the home does have pets, investing in an air purifier with a HEPA filter can help reduce pet dander and ease allergy symptoms.
Mold thrives in high humidity and damp areas such as basements and bathrooms. Mold spores can trigger allergy symptoms in many and can be deadly to some. Mold should be removed as soon as possible so it can’t spread. Getting a dehumidifier and using an air conditioning unit instead of opening windows can help lower the amount of humidity in a home which reduces the risk of mold and mildew.