When you suffer from allergies, dangers lurk around just about every corner. Dust, pollen, mold, and pet hair are amongst the most common triggers. Because they are airborne, they can be difficult to avoid unless you are in a controlled environment. Even where the reactions can seem mild, like having a runny nose or eye irritation, it can be stressful to keep suffering these symptoms repeatedly. And having to take medication to control the problem may bring up a host of other possible side effects many would rather avoid.
Therefore, the best way to enjoy a more peaceful and healthy life lies in making your home as allergy-friendly as possible. Your home can indeed be the source of your allergy triggers, but there are ways you can reduce or eliminate their presence. Before you embark on applying these strategies, it is advisable to first consult with a doctor and possibly get tested to ascertain what you are allergic to. This way, you have a better idea of what you are targeting, and if you require medication as a backup, you can stock what is most appropriate to your condition.
Even airborne pollutants like dust and pollen will often settle on some surfaces in the house. The best way to reduce their presence is to dust from the top coming downwards. If you dust haphazardly, you risk just having the particles float in all directions when you want them to descend.
Use a damp microfiber cloth to trap the dust rather than flick a feather duster around. Remember to regularly go over as many surfaces such pollutants may land on, including curtains and fans. Save the vacuuming and mopping for last so you can get rid of the last remnants of dirt properly.
Check Air Filters
Your air conditioner circulates air around the home. It sucks it in through air filters before sending it out through ducts to other parts of the house. The air filter helps clean the air of pollutants, including many allergens that can trigger seasonal allergies. This means that every time you run your air conditioner, the air filter becomes a little dirty.
It is essential to check on the condition of your air filter and switch it out for clean ones to ensure good air quality is maintained. When cleaning, also regularly check on the condition of your ducts and vents. Pollutants can also build up here, requiring cleaning to preserve air quality. They can also indicate to you when your air filters may need changing.
If you have other devices in the home that use filters, check if they need replacement or cleaning. For instance, many vacuums use filters that can be changed or cleaned. Using a vacuum with a dirty filter can cause it to run inefficiently and fail to clean your carpets as hoped.
Reduce Pet Dander
If you are allergic to pet dander and hair but still insist on keeping pets, there are some ways you can limit the effects. Regularly bathing your pet can help reduce their dander, hair, and mites in the home. It is especially important for animals that shed hair to brush out their coats to de-shed thoroughly. It is also helpful to get your pet on a regular grooming schedule.
You can also restrict what spaces your pet goes into, especially the bedroom. The last thing you want is your dog or cat to climb onto the pillow you will later lay your head on and trigger your allergies. Using a good vacuum with a HEPA filter will also help eliminate as many dander particles, hair, and odor as possible. Hence, you will have a more allergy-friendly living environment. If your allergen is dust or pollen, also form a habit of wiping down your pets whenever they come indoors after playing outside.
Reducing humidity in the home will help combat mold and mildew growth. Pay special attention to areas around the house where moisture is, like kitchen sinks, laundries, and bathrooms. A dehumidifier in these spaces can help extract moisture from the air, therefore inhibiting mold growth. Running your air conditioner can also help ventilate and disperse the steam when showering.
Regularly check piping, taps, and drains to ensure no leaks, and act quickly if you notice mold growth in drywall, insulation, or other areas. When such problems are caught early, the cost of repairs can be much lower. You can use at-home mold testing kits to check if there is a problem that needs addressing or call in a professional.
Upgrade Air Filters
If your air conditioner and other devices like the vacuum and air purifier allow it, consider upgrading to high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. As air is sucked into the machine to be filtered, ultra-fine particles of dirt and microscopic dust mites often get through and end up dispersed back into the atmosphere. HEPA filters are superior in capturing these particles and even trap odors.
HEPA filters are highly recommended for allergy sufferers as they are better at purifying the air of airborne pollutants. There are permanent and disposable options that can be found at home improvement stores and are also sold online. Be sure to choose a filter with a clean air delivery rate (CADR) suited to the size of the room.
Dust mites love pillows and mattresses. You can reduce this risk by keeping your bedding as clean as possible. The standard is to change and wash bedding at least once a week in the hottest setting. If you are handwashing, use a dryer on high heat for 15 minutes or air dry outside in the sunlight.
You can also consider investing in hypoallergenic bedding designed to repel and contain allergens so they will not be dispersed and cause flare-ups. This can be a good option if you find your allergies often triggered just from getting in bed. Also, make use of a dust cover for your mattress and pillows to reduce the level of mites that will take refuge here. Form a habit of thoroughly wiping down your headboard and bedframe every time you change the bedding.