Pollen season is setting in and that means one thing for allergy sufferers: things are about to get rough. The sniffling, runny noses, and watery eyes can make going outside for the next six weeks or so as close to torture as most people will ever experience. Getting inside, however, can offer some relief. But only if you do it right.
Allergens are not just outdoors—your home could be teeming with them. This can lead to a host of reactions and a belief that you’re sick while substantially reducing the quality of life. But by running through a quick checklist, you can make your home an allergy safe haven and achieve the seasonal reprieve you seek.
Attack the Air: Pollen and other allergens can get indoors, so sealing entrance points to keep clean air in can offer big-time relief. Keeping windows and doors closed and using central air conditioning is ideal. Make sure to check and clean air filters regularly and replace if necessary. Standalone air conditioners work best when fitted with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. In damp regions of your home, like a basement, running a dehumidifier can reduce ideal climates for mold and dust mites.
Clean Your Room: A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that 74 percent of tested bedrooms had between three and six (out of eight) allergens that researchers looked for. Because of the amount of time you spend in your bedroom, the climate can play a big role in your health. Using mattress and pillow protectors can help keep dust mites out, and washing pillowcases and sheets weekly kills dust mites and any allergens you may have dragged in. Vacuum surfaces regularly too.
No Unwanted Visitors: When you come in from outside, remove shoes and store them on a plastic or tile surface. Doormats made of rope, carpet, or other materials can trap in allergens and wreak havoc. Remove the clothing you wore out and put it in the laundry, then wash your hands. Showering before bed can ensure that you are not bringing allergies to bed with you (they might be in your hair) so you can breathe easily for a good night’s sleep.
If going outside is a struggle this season, you can at least make your home a place of solace. Keeping allergens out allows you to avoid seasonal symptoms and prepare you for summer. See you in six weeks!