The Springtime can be a nuisance to those who suffer from pollen allergies, but irritants in the home like mold, mildew, dust mites, and pet dander can trouble allergy sufferers year-round and instigate asthma-like symptoms. Take these steps to minimize triggers that might set off your allergies:
Mold and mildew: Mold is a primary contributor to allergy symptoms. Stop it and mildew before they form by using a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air. You can use a simple tub-type dehumidifier where you just open the tub, pour the enclosed desiccant crystals out of the bag, put in a corner, and then drain every week. Another option is a dehumidifier with user-definable humidity settings that pulls water from the air. Optimum humidity is generally between 40 and 50 percent.
Dust mites: These critters thrive in a too-humid environment. Clean regularly with a damp cloth that attracts dust, and avoid feather dusters that scatter dust. Minimize clutter, which is a dust magnet.
Pet dander: Animal dander thrives in an overly dry setting. Be sure to bathe pets once every three months (as recommended by the ASPCA) and vacuum one to two times per week.
These simple cleaning tasks will help keep allergies at bay:
Change furnace filters regularly: Use an allergen-reduction filter that removes particles less than one micron in size. These are the most important to capture, because they make up 99 percent of the number of particles in the air and can be breathed deep into the lungs.
Vacuum with a HEPA filter: This type of vacuum will trap the smallest particles. When shopping for vacuum bags look for the words “microfiltration” or “allergen.” These bags will prevent your vacuum from ejecting the dirt, dust and dander back into the air after you’ve vacuumed.
Use earth-friendly cleaning products: Use household cleaning solutions that don’t contain a lot of perfumes, scents, chemicals, and additives. Often these products will be labeled “free and clear.” Everyday household items such as vinegar, lemon and baking soda can also be used to keep a clean home.
Ensure proper ventilation: Pollutants can build up if a home is not ventilated properly. Install an exhaust fan in the bathroom if needed.
Wash bedding regularly: In addition to bedding where dust mites can thrive, also wash pillows and throw rugs on a regular basis. Encase mattresses in allergy-free covers.
While it is probably impossible to make your entire home allergy free, it is easy to create an allergy-free zone in your bedroom and enjoy a better sleeping experience with these tips:
• Fresh flowers are beautiful, but keep them out of the bedroom.
• Take off shoes and coats before entering your bedroom.
• Keep collections and clutter in other areas of the home.
• Use allergy-free bedding.
• Vacuum often.
• Install blinds or shades in-stead of dust-collecting curtains.
• Hard floor surfaces are better for preventing alergies than wall-to-wall carpeting.
• Wash throw rugs and throw pillow covers regularly.
• Take a shower before going to sleep, especially if you’ve been outdoors all day.