It’s finally here! After 4 long months of cold and dark, it’s finally Spring here in northern Virginia. And so the allergies commence! Frankly, I had forgotten how bad my allergies can be because I’ve been on medication for them for several years. Now, in my delicate state, I can’t take my regular prescription strength allergy meds and have been relying (miserably) on over-the-counter and home remedies. The past two weeks have been kind of a haze due to Benedryl, Zyrtec, and sleepless nights, but I think I’m back in business thanks to a new allergist and a new prescription.
All my sinus woes got me thinking about how many things I’d become complacent about in our living situation because I was relying on medication. There are many things you can do to avoid allergens in your home, from the construction of the house to its decoration. I thought I’d list some in case it can help anyone else suffering the plight of allergies.
To clarify, I am allergic to both indoor (dust, mold, cat hair, etc) and outdoor (tree pollen) irritants. I get all the classic symptoms: itchy eyes, itchy throat, sneezing, post-nasal drip, and even (though rarely) hives. Here is a list of things you can do in your home to mitigate the number of allergens in your home:
-Remove carpet in bedrooms, especially if your home is slab on-grade. Moisture can seep through the concrete and and become trapped between the concrete and the carpet, causing mold and mildew which often goes undetected. Hardwood or hard-surface floors are best because they are easier to clean and are less likely to trap allergens like dust.
- Avoid using heavy curtains or draperies, which can attract mold, dust-mites and bacteria. Use lightweight curtains or shades which can be easily cleaned.
- If you have pets, bathe them frequently during high-pollen season, or at least wipe them down after they’ve been outside. Don’t allow them to sleep on your bed or get on the furniture, which will only bring any pollen or dander on them closer to you. We’ve just recently made this change in our house and I think it’s worked wonders.
- Minimize soft furnishings and excessive decor in your home, which only collect dust.
- Vacuum often (if carpets and rugs are present) and preferably with a vacuum that has a Hepa filter, which is designed to filter particles like dust and cat dander.
- Maintain your air conditioner and change the filter frequently, also using a high filtration system if possible.
- Use allergen-impermeable covers on your pillows and mattress and wash all sheets, blankets and mattress pads in hot water (130 degrees) at least every two weeks.
-Remove your shoes upon entering the house as they can track in dust and pollen they’ve picked up outside.
Hope you are enjoying the change of seasons. Happy Spring!