If you are allergic to pollen, spring means having days or weeks of endless sneezing, sniffling, and coughing. Spring is undoubtedly beautiful, but during this season, trees, grasses, and weeds release pollen grains into the air that can trigger allergies. These include allergic rhinitis, asthma, and other airborne allergies. Over 50 million Americans suffer from those allergies, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And unfortunately, pollen-caused allergies often cause all sorts of irritating symptoms, such as sneezing, sinus pain, and more. While you can’t control when the trees blossom or the daffodils pop up, you can do a few things to keep your allergy symptoms at bay — and prevent these from ruining your entire spring. After all, pollen grains reach your home by sticking to your clothing.
Pollen is sticky, and it loves to cling to clothes, hats, and even to hair and eyelashes. Also, outdoor allergens like pollen can enter your home through ventilation. That’s precisely the reason you experience symptoms even if you’re indoors most of the time. If you can’t escape allergens, it is time to be in the attack position. Here are a few things you can do to allergy-proof each room of your home:
IN THE BEDROOM
REPLACE YOUR BEDDING MORE OFTEN
Your bedroom deserves your utmost attention since you sleep there for eight hours or so a night. This spring, make sure you wash all your bedding more often than you usually do. You can also replace your old, dusty bedding with hypoallergenic bedding such as bamboo bedding. Bamboo bedding made from bamboo fabric not treated with harsh chemicals. So, you don’t have to worry about chemical residue that might trigger your allergies. But more importantly, bamboo bedding is naturally anti-microbial, keeping allergens such as dust mites and pollen grains from clinging to your bed.
WASH YOUR PILLOWS
As mentioned, pollen grains can easily cling to your hair. Imagine you were out for most of the day, and then you came home feeling too tired, slumping down into the bed without hitting the shower first. The pollen grains in your hair will likely stick to your pillows and stay there until you replace pillowcases. Make sure your pillow is pollen-free, by washing them often. Most pillows can be machine-washed so get yours super clean every week.
CLEAN AND ORGANISE YOUR NIGHTSTAND
Nightstands can accumulate a lot of junk that can trap pollen grains, too. Use spring cleaning as your time to clear everything out of your nightstand, clean each item before putting it back, and make sure you’re only storing what you need.
IN THE LIVING ROOM
SWITCH TO VACUUMS WITH HEPA FILTERS
The living room is where you most likely hang out, especially after spending several hours outside. It is also space where you entertain guests who probably unknowingly brought pollen grains into your home. You can wipe the shelves and sweep the floor as often as you can, but this isn’t enough to keep allergens like pollen grains at bay when you have a carpet.
Carpets are like big sponges that collect dust and other allergens. Often, carpets retain particles and debris between fibres or crevices, which can be difficult to clear up especially if your vacuum cleaner doesn’t have the right suction. When your vacuum cleaner spews more debris than it picks up, expect your allergy symptoms to flare up every time you vacuum.
Consider swapping out your old vacuum cleaner for a new one with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. HEPA-equipped vacuum cleaners throw fewer microscopic particles into the room as you use them. Some people even say that their allergy symptoms improve after using these vacuums.
INSTALL WINDOW AND FURNACE FILTERS
Sure, window shades or blinds can keep some dust and pollen away. The drawback, however, is that screens won’t let breezes blow through your open window. Window filters, on the other hand, allow you to enjoy the fresh air while blocking the misery-causing pollen. Also, install a HEPA furnace filter in your home. It will help trap pollen and dust before even these allergens get a chance to circulate throughout your home. Just remember to clean or change the window and furnace filters in your home on a monthly or bimonthly schedule.
IN ENTRYWAYS IN THE LIVING ROOM, KITCHEN, AND GARAGE
LAY DOWN DOORMATS
Make sure to place two doormats at each entryway in your home — one outside and another inside. This way, you keep outdoor allergens from finding their way inside. Also, if you can, ask your family members and guests to take off their shoes before they enter, to prevent allergens from spreading into your home.
IN ANY ROOM
CONSIDER INSTALLING A ROOM AIR FILTER
A room air filter in your bedroom, home office, kitchen, or other parts of your home where you hang out frequently can help prevent your allergy symptoms. This equipment captures airborne allergens such as pollen grains, after all.
In addition to this room-by-room guide, make sure you keep yourself clean during spring or the so-called allergy season. Remember, pollen clings to your clothing and in your hair when you’re outside. So if you can’t limit your time outdoors, take a shower and change into fresh clothes as soon as you get home or before you go to bed. Also, make sure to take preventive medications so you can take better control of your allergy symptoms, which, by the way, are sometimes confused with the common cold. According to the latest weather reports, pollen counts are expected to soar through April and until June. Brace yourself for months of allergy flare-ups or, better yet, follow this guide, and you can prevent your spring allergies before they even start. Author: Margaret Holland