Doctor DIY: Rid Your Home of Allergens
Are itchy eyes and constant sneezing getting you down? You are in good, red-rimmed, congested company with over 20 percent of Americans suffering from allergies.
Need advice on how to stop allergies in their tracks? According to the AANMA, removing irritants from the home is more effective than medication. After finding out what allergens trigger your response — typically pollen, dust mites, mold or pet dander — begin to make changes to rid your home of the irritant. Learn how to get started today!
Pollen and Other Outdoor Irritants
Reduce the amount of allergens coming into your home. In order to do this, put doormats inside and outside of entryways or have everyone remove their shoes upon entry. Keep windows closed during pollen season. Also, regularly change out a HEPA air filter to remove small particles.
Laurie Ross, editor of Allergy and Asthma Today, notes, “If dust is one of your problems, cover your mattress and pillows with zip-on dust mite covers. You spend so much of your day in bed—if you can just get a good night’s sleep, you’ll be off to a great start.”
As a first step, wash sheets, blankets and pillowcases at a minimum of once a week in water that is at least 130° F. In addition, remove carpeting and padding and replace them with hardwood, tile or linoleum. Almost all allergens accumulate in standard carpets.
If you suffer from mold-related allergies, remove condensation and mold from window sills and frames. It’s helpful to avoid sitting on lounge or upholstered furniture, and instead turn to furniture composed of wood, leather, metal or plastic. Also, be sure to get rid of any moldy or water-damaged carpeting.
Additionally, keep humidity levels low, optimally between 68° and 72° F with humidity levels 50 percent or less. A dehumidifier may help with this. Check for and address leaks under the sink or with the plumbing. In addition, look for leaks around the foundation, stairwells or windows. Use an exhaust fan to decrease moisture while taking a shower, remove mold from shower tiles and plumbing fixtures and use a mold-resistant enamel paint on walls. When drying clothes, make sure to vent the moisture outside from the dryer.
Consider keeping the pet outdoors, or select one that is bred not to trigger an allergic response if cats and dogs keep you sneezing. Keep animals away from the bedroom and bathe them at least once a week to reduce the amount of dander. Check with the American Kennel Club for the best breeds for allergy sufferers.
In order to sufficiently reduce the amount of allergens in your home, do the following on a regular basis:
Never allow smoking in your home
Stick to a strict weekly cleaning routine
Buy a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter
Wear a dust mask when you clean
If all of this cleaning and prevention does not keep your allergies away, seek medical help. MedPost offers seasonal care for infections that may result from allergies and flu sufferers at clinics nationwide. If a specialist is needed, MedPost will help you coordinate care with one convenient for you.