Runny noses, phlegmy coughs and watery eyes. We’re in the midst of a season when outdoor allergies have a way of making you feel like doing just about anything short of running your head through a car wash to make yourself feel better. Though there’s not a ton you can do to prevent outdoor allergies from hitting hard, you can do some things to help ease the hidden allergies that could be making you miserable.
Many allergens live inside your home, such as:
These microscopic insects make up house dust and feed on dead skin. They live year-round in bedding, carpets, fabric and stuffed animals.
These fungi live in warm, moist, dark environments. It can be found year-round and in musty places like damp basements.
When a pet licks itself and the saliva dries, protein particles called dander become airborne.
What can you do? Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Use special 1-micron or latex covers for all pillows and mattresses to keep dust mites from sneaking out of the bed (these are sold commonly as “hypoallergenic dustmite protectors”). They should zip, not just wrap or stretch around like a cover sheet.
- Dust, sweep, and vacuum at least once a week, including curtains, blinds and vents. Whenever possible, use HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters, which pick up even the smallest microns of dust, and trap cat and dog dander. Change them four times a year.
- Fill your home with air-filtering plants. Plants such as ficus, snake plants and gerbera daisies help clean your air by removing carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and other indoor air pollutants. Ask your local plant store for other suggestions.
If you have severe allergies, you may want to consider hardwood floors instead of carpet in your home.
Of course, there are several OTC and prescription medications available that can help ease symptoms, but our goal here is to help you avoid feeling like a leaky spigot in the first place. And the best way to do that is to treat allergies like anything you dread doing – put the work in on the front end to minimize the anguish later.