Allergy-Proof Your House With These 9 Steps
Dr. Mai-Vy Hoang 09/04/2017
Allergies are hardly uncommon; researchers say that nearly 30 percent of adults (and 40 percent of children) in the United States suffer from them.
And this number is expected to continue to rise, which means more sneezing and dry, itchy eyes for you and your family.
So how can you avoid allergy flareups? While medications help relieve allergy symptoms, removing allergens from your home is a more effective approach to breathing easy. Here are some ways you can rid your house of irritants that cause allergies.
Find Out What You're Allergic To
The first step in taming your allergies is finding out what causes them. You can get allery tested to find what trees and plants irritate your immune system. Once you determine what you're allergic to, you can take steps to avoid these allergens.
Keep Your Bedroom Clean
Your bedroom is where you spend most of the day. If there are allergens in your room, you may wake up with a stuffy nose and itchy eyes. If dust is a cause of your allergies, cover your mattresses and pillows with zip-on dust covers. Vacuum once a week to remove dust build up. Additionally, remember to change your sheets on a weekly basis. You'll get a good night's sleep while reducing your allergy symptoms.
Allergens are less likely to get trapped in blinds or shades than they are in drapes or curtains. Switch to wood or bamboo shades, which are easier to clean while still looking great. If you prefer curtains, buy the machine-washable kind and vacuum them once a week with a brush attachment.
Upgrade Your Vacuum
Vacuums can help remove dust, pet hair and other allergens from your floors and rugs. However, some vaccuums are better than others. Older vacuums can stir up allergens into the air.
A good way to determine the suction ability of a vacuum is to measure its cubic feet per minute, or CFM. This indicates how much air (and allergins) are sucked into the cleaner per minute. The higher the CFM, the stronger the vacuum. You should also switch to a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter, which is designed to trap the tiniest of allergens.
GET AN AIR PURIFIER
Sometimes, vacuuming and dusting alone aren't enough to remove allergens from the air. If you or your family struggle with recurring allergy flare-ups, consider purchasing a quality air purifier.
Air purifiers remove dust, pet dander, pores, pollen and other pollutants from the air. Running an air purifier in rooms you are in often can help reduce allergy symptoms. When it comes to choosing the best air purifier for your home, Jen Reviews has a helpful guide, How to Choose an Air Purifier, According to Science. This article will guide you through nine factors to consider before choosing a purifier for your home.
Prevent Allergens From Coming Inside
Laying down doormats at each entry — one outside, one inside — will help keep outdoor irritants out of the house. Vacuum out the indoor mats will help remove trapped allergens. You can sweep allergens off outdoor mats; just be sure to throw the dust in the trash when you finish so the wind doesn't blow it right back on your doorstep. You'll need to replace these doormats at least yearly, especially the kind made from bristly brown coir.
Mold comes in many forms and species. One of its favorite places to form is in your bathroom – especially in the corners of your bathtub and shower, and around your sink faucet.
The best ways to prevent mold growth is to ensure your bathroom is well ventilated, ddry off surfaces that collect standing water, and use a strong cleaner on problem areas once per week. If you have existing mold spots, treat these with a diluted mixture of bleach. Let it sit for ten minutes or so before scrubbing clean.
Don't forget the "hidden" places
Even the most thorough cleaners often overlook places in their homes. Areas like under the appliances, inside cabinets, around ceiling and wall vents, and underneth rugs are the easiest to forget to clean. Set apart one day a month for deep cleaning these hard-to-reach and easy-to-forget areas. Keep an eye out for signs of water leakage, mold growth, rodents or bugs.
Additionally, regularly clean or replace filters in your heating and cooling system. Because these systems are often outside, they can collect a lot of allergens.
Replace carpeting with hardwood or other types of flooring. Allergens accumulate in carpeting and are released into the air every time someone walks across it.
The Texas Panhandle is notorious for its allergens. See what could be making your eyes itch. Watch our video below.
Looking for more information on seasonal allergies? Our Seasonal Allergies Infographic will help you understand the most common allergy triggers, allergy symptoms, best treatment options, best practices for preventing them and more.