As we welcome blossoming flowers, bright green lawns and longer days enjoying the great outdoors, some of us also welcome itchy eyes, stuffy noses, and sneezing fits. Take a look at our roundup of ways you can mitigate your allergen exposure before your reach for medication. Read on and explore the simple changes you can make before the season starts.
Allergens always find their way indoors whether it is through a window, on your clothes or from your pet. To keep your home as allergen-free as possible, start with your floors. Vacuum your carpets daily as dirt and allergens get trapped deep in the fibers. Routinely sweeping and mopping your wood floors is essential to keep allergens out of your home and off of your floor.
To help maintain those clean floors enact a shoe free home policy. Shoes can track in pollen, mold and other nasties you may have stepped in. Having a designated area for shoes in the entryway or mudroom, as well as having a basket with clean socks for yourself and guests beside it, will ensure your floors remain clean and your feet comfy. Remember to dust, wiping down all surfaces, and clean your upholstery regularly. If you are on the market for new furniture or home goods, keep materials in mind that are easy to clean.
Your clean up routine should also include intervals throughout the year where you do a “deep” clean. From blinds and walls to baseboards, behind the stove and in the furthest corner of your closet, allergens and dust settle anywhere and everywhere. Wear a mask and gloves to keep your exposure to a minimum or hire a professional to come in and clean house.
And what about your furry companion? Wipe or wash Fluffy’s paws after going out to keep them from tracking in any extra nasties. As for their fur, brush through it and bathe them regularly to keep their coats shiny and clean. Increase baths during peak allergy times to help you and your pet manage symptoms.
Now that we covered the allergens we can see, what about those we can’t? Turn on the A/C and keep the windows closed during peak season. Keep in mind the filter needs to be replaced every 3 months, or more often as needed. A HEPA air purifier is a great way to increase your air quality, especially in rooms where you spend the most time such as your bedroom or living room. Clean and replace filters as directed by the manufacturer for optimal performance.
Speaking of the bedroom, let’s dive into the bed. We don’t need to tell you about all the fungi, bacteria and bodily fluids that are hiding in your bed because you know that already. To clean them up, regularly wash your sheets and pillowcases at least once a week in warm water. (1) Blankets and duvets should be laundered every 3 and 6 months, respectively. And invest in quality anti-allergen protectors which keep allergens, including dust mites, from settling within your pillows or mattress.
Out and About
Switch cloth mats for all weather mats in your car. Any allergens that settle into them can be hosed off making it easier to clean and keep clean. As with your home, switch to air conditioning when you hit peak allergy season and remember to change the air filter. Better yet, install a HEPA filter for greater filtration. Vacuum and wipe down all surfaces in your car, increasing frequency as needed to help keep allergen exposure in check.
Consider tying a scarf around your hair or wearing a hat while you are out as dust, pollen and other allergens can get trapped in your hair. Even wearing a cap at night to keep allergens off your sheets will make a difference. The same idea applies to your clothes. Changing out of your clothes as soon as you get home and using a coat you can wipe down will help decrease the number of allergens you track into your home.
Keeping up with your allergies can seem like a never-ending battle. However, armed with a cleaning routine and by enacting a few simple changes to your day-to-day you’ll see that preventing your exposure is half the battle and it is one you can win. Which tip are you ready to try first? Keep on the lookout for the next post in this series which will focus on whole foods that can support and treat your allergy symptoms!