Spring can be a season of nightmares for the estimated 50 million American allergy sufferers. The temperature is getting warmer, so it’s tempting to get outside and get away from all the aggravating dust and impurities indoors. However, the pollen outside may trigger worse allergic reactions.
It’s best to keep trying to minimize dust and other year-round indoor allergens while keeping out the spring pollen. Here are some tips for keeping spring allergens out of the house.
• Keep doors and windows closed, especially when the pollen count is high. Rainfall, temperature and wind speeds all have significant effects on pollen counts. Don’t assume rainstorms are scrubbing pollen from the air. Rain could also dislodge smaller bits of pollen, and encourages new growth, adding more pollen. Click here for a current local pollen count reading.
• Clean all vents and flat surfaces that might collect pollen. Also vacuum more regularly, but wear a mask because vacuums kick up irritating dust and pollen. To minimize dust, look for a vacuum with a certified Allergy and Asthma Friendly label.
• Get rid of thick carpet and rugs, heavy upholstery and stuffed toys, which can all attract and harbor allergens. DIY Resource: http://www.networx.com/article/keeping-spring-allergens-out-of-the-hous
• Clean or change air filters regularly. It may be tempting to forget about the HVAC system on mild spring days when neither the furnace or the air conditioning kicks on. However, the furnace may still run at night, and blow dust, pollen and other particles around the home.
• If symptoms are severe, consider a high-quality air purifier. Cheap air filters are often useless, and other models generate ozone, which also causes respiratory problems. Keep the humidity level between 30 and 50 percent. Consider a humidifier if the air is particularly dry, which can make airways and mucous membranes more sensitive to allergens. On the other hand, humid air can encourage more mold and dust mites, so keep a healthy balance.
• Wash your hair and change clothes more often. Shower between being outside and lying down on a bed or couch. Hair can collect pollen, so wash it out before it sticks to sheets and upholstery.
• Groom pets regularly to minimize the pollen and other allergens they track into the house. DIY Resource: http://www.hometalk.com
Meticulously cleaning the house and blocking out pollen can greatly reduce the threat of spring allergies. You may also consider landscaping around your family’s allergies. Consider getting an allergy skin test, in which a doctor pricks the skin with a matrix of potential allergens. The areas that trigger redness, swelling and other reactions are likely causing allergic reactions in the real world. If you react to particular plants or grasses, replacing them with different landscaping elements.