Clean Curtains And Blinds
Curtains and blinds are common places for dust and other allergens to accumulate, so do your due diligence and clean these regularly. About twice a month, gently vacuum curtains and drapes using a brush attachment at the lowest suction setting.
A hairdryer on the cold setting is also a great way to remove debris from delicate fabrics. Just make sure you vacuum the area afterward to avoid blowing dust into other areas of your bedroom. If you have blinds, use a duster or dust rag to clear away dust that can build up between the panels.
Quick tip: Place air purifiers in every bedroom to regularly filter out airborne allergens that may latch onto your curtains or blinds and reduce your exposure while you sleep.
Allergy Proof Your Home
There are many ways you can allergy proof your home, beyond the regular tidying up and standard cleaning practices, using these tips and tricks.
- Keep humidity low, and reduce moisture in the air, and use a dehumidifier if necessary
- Watch for leaks and floods that may spur mold growth
- Choose allergy-friendly insulation if possible
- Remove carpeting if possible, and replace with easy-to-clean flooring options
- Keep shoes off inside the home
- Hire eco-friendly pest control to control cockroaches and mice, and prevent re infestation
- Clean air conditioning filters regularly
- Have air conditioners inspected regularly
- Dust and damp mop solid surface flooring regularly
- Use portable air purifiers throughout your home, especially in the bedroom
- Use HEPA-filter vacuum cleaners regularly
- Keep household irritants use, like candles and fragrances, to a minimum
- Maintain good pet hygiene, and keep pets out of the bedroom
- Use low or zero-VOC paints
- Purchase allergy-friendly bedding with dust mite proof covers that can be easily washed
- Wash linens regularly in hot water, and use a high-heat dryer setting
- Shower regularly after any outdoor activity before coming inside
Keeping your home free from dust mites, mold, pet dander, and other environmental allergens can keep you breathing well and keep seasonal and perennial and respiratory allergies at bay.
Allergy Proofing Your Bedroom
Your bedroom is a prime place for allergens, and itâs a room you spend a lot of time in every day. We spend a third of our life sleeping, or at least attempting to go to sleep!
Start by making a regular cleaning routine, including vacuuming once a week, at least, to minimize allergens. This includes dusting with a damp mop or cloth, vacuuming, and washing bedding regularly.
Next, Use dehumidifiers in humid climates. If you use a humidifier in your bedroom for drier climates, make sure that the humidifier is cleaned regularly.
Make your bedding allergy friendly! Purchase allergy-friendly bedding including mattress pads, duvet covers, pillows, and pillow covers. The best products can block allergens, like dust mites, from getting through. These dust mite proof covers should be easily laundered. These products should also be made without chemicals known to cause allergies or irritants.
If you have pets, youâll want to keep them out of the bedroom. Designating the bedroom as a pet-free zone helps to keep outdoor allergens, and pet allergens, out of this safe space. If you must have pets in the bedroom, itâs best to not have them on or in your bedding. We know this can be tough, so if your pet does share the bed with you, make sure you wash your bedding regularly. Pets should also be brushed regularly and bathed to help reduce dander.
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Allergy Proof Your Childs Room
Lets face it, children can get messy! They rarely have a filter when it comes to touching things outside or putting objects in their mouths, and they may spread allergens more than you release. Keeping up with cleaning your childs room is necessary when youre suffering from annoying allergy symptoms. Start by setting aside time each week to do a deep cleaning.
13. Keep toys clean. Toys are often one of the dirtiest items in any room, so its important to regularly wash them or wipe them down with a damp cloth. Most allergy specialists advocate cleaning toys at least once every two weeks if your child is prone to allergies.
If possible, put stuffed animals in the washing machine on a gentle cycle every few weeks . You can also freeze stuffed animals that arent washable for a few hours to kill dust mites. Other toys can be wiped down with a vinegar solution made from one-part water and one-part vinegar.
14. Wash blankets and other textiles. Blankets, bedding, and other linens should be washed every one to two weeks in hot water to kill dust mites. When youre not using them, store blankets and other textiles in airtight containers or bags to prevent allergens from collecting. Use mild detergents, cold water, and a garment bag to preserve any old or delicate stuffed animals and blankets.
Sort through play bins regularly and get rid of things your youngster outgrows or no longer uses. Fewer items mean less area where germs and allergens can collect.
Indoor Allergies And Your Quality Of Life
Indoor allergens can significantly affect the air quality in your home as well. These air pollutants can be easily spread throughout your home by your HVAC system or air conditioning, as well as being carried by other occupants in your home.
This poor air quality can trigger or worsen your seasonal allergy symptoms, including:
- Runny nose
Day in and day out as you breathe in these allergens, your allergy symptoms can make you feel miserable, tired and cause brain fog.
In a worst-case scenario, you may even experience a severe allergic reaction anaphylaxis which can potentially require hospitalization.
Common allergy symptoms are also well-known asthma triggers, so it’s especially important to avoid them if you have asthma or other breathing problems.
Even though these allergens are common and seem impossible to escape at the time, there are things you can do to allergy-proof your environment.
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Using A Vacuum With A Hepa Filter
Vacuuming regularly can help allergy-proof your home. Our tests of vacuums found that those with regular filters sucked up similar amounts of dander and dust as those with high-efficiency particulate air filters.
And some, but not all, were just as good as those with HEPA filters at keeping small particles from escaping from the vacuum and blowing back into the air.
If youre the allergy sufferer, give someone else the task of vacuuming. And avoid bagless vacuums, which can stir up dust when youre emptying the bin.
Consult With A Home Inspector
Some mold, like mildew, lives on damp surfaces and is relatively easy to clean with a 1-to-8 bleach/water solution. Other types are more insidious and can live in drywall, carpet, insulation, or other hard-to-reach places. This type of fungus takes elbow grease to remove and depending on the severity of your indoor allergy, it may not be a good idea for you to be in close proximity. An experienced home inspector can check your house for signs of mold and other allergens and make a recommendation on how to proceed.
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Does Immunotherapy Work For Allergies
Yes, immunotherapy is very effective and can be a wonderful solutionespecially if over-the-counter and prescription medications have not provided satisfactory results.
How Does Immunotherapy Work?
First, we have to determine what you are allergic to because this will help us tailor a treatment that will be most effective. Well carefully examine your symptoms, and it would help us if youd let us know what seems to trigger them or make them worse.
Sometimes, well give you a skin test or a blood test. We examine these to help us determine the course of your allergies.
Then, we create a substance of purified allergen extracts, which we administer in a series of immunotherapy allergy shots. These small injections desensitize your immune system so it wont go into overdrive when it encounters these allergens.
Were happy to report that many of our patients say immunotherapy has made all the difference in the worldmost have seen a complete remission of their allergy symptoms.
An Unlikely Culprit: Stuffed Animals
Stuffed animals can be found in every child’s room. They are cute and irresistible to kids and, unfortunately, to dust mites, too. If your child insists on cuddling with a stuffed animal, buy one that’s durable and washable, and then wash it each week with the linens. Try not to let your child sleep with it. Since this is easier said than done, at least remove the toy from the bed once they’ve fallen asleep. Keep all toys in dust-free containers away from the bed and not on the floor.
Even if your child shows no signs of allergies, keep up the allergy-proofing if one or both parents have them. While such precautions won’t prevent future allergies in your child, the data suggest that they may prevent your child from developing asthma. Allergy-proofing also helps reduce dust mites throughout the entire house and helps create lifelong healthful cleaning habits.
Allergy-proofing the home is easy compared to doing the dorm room. First, you’re thrown into a small room with a complete stranger, who may or may not be sympathetic to your suffering. Second, there’s the room itself, a place that has endured the wear and tear of countless students — clean and not-so-clean. Unfortunately, sometimes there isn’t much an allergic student can do about roommate or residence, but it is always worth trying for the sake of your sinuses.
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Find Out What You’re Allergic To First
Visiting an allergist will help you focus your preventative measures. The most common offenders are dust mites, mold, pollens, and pet dander. “There’s no point in making changes at home if you don’t address your particular allergies,” says Laurie Ross, editor of Allergy and Asthma Today. “Who knows, you might be allergic to cats, and here you are keeping your windows closed.”
Will Air Cleaning Devices Help
Air cleaning devices might help. But the best way to improve your air quality is to get rid of the sources of allergens and irritants from your home. Take measures to avoid and reduce your contact with allergens. Also increase the flow of outdoor air into your home and reduce humidity as much as possible.
Reducing humidity decreases dust mites and mold growth. Air conditioners help reduce humidity too. They can also prevent outdoor allergens. Keep your windows and doors closed. Turn your air conditioner on recirculate. These steps can help reduce outdoor allergens like pollen and mold.
Air cleaners with CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® filters can filter almost 98% of allergen particles in the air. Look for CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® devices.
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Allergy Proof Your Home: Pets
- Wipe down the dog. Know another handy way for allergens to infiltrate your home? Riding in on your furry BFF. Use grooming wipes to remove pollen, grass, and other allergens from your pups fur and paws whenever they come in from outside.
- Be mindful of where your pets hang out. Maybe you have zero plans to wipe down your dog every time he comes in from the outdoors. Hey, I get it! Thats a lot of work. Another alternative is to keep your pet out of your bed and off of the furniture as much as possible. After all, thats where you lay and breathe in whatevers lurking on the surface. We bought our Jack Russell the comfiest of dog beds and laid it at the end of our chaise lounge. That way hes still a part of the family, but all of his fur is contained to one place in the living room. My highly allergic husband is sure to always sit at the other end of the couch.
Protect And Filter Bedroom Air
Dust mites like warm, damp conditions. If your bedroom is warm and humid most of the time, you could be creating the perfect conditions for dust mites. Use your air conditioner throughout the summer to reduce humidity, and if you dont have an air conditioner, consider the use of a dehumidifier.
HVAC systems use air filters to clean the air coursing through the ducts. Air filters come with MERV ratings that measure the filters ability to filter out small particles. MERV 11 through 13 filters can remove particles as small as viruses and bacteria. Use a MERV 11 or 12 filter to clean the air in your home. The EPA recommends changing your air filter at least every 3 months, but if you have sensitivity to particles in the air, check the air filter monthly and replace it when it starts to look dirty.
Steps to Change Your Air Filter
If you cant find the air filter, check with the instruction manual for your HVAC system.
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How To Manage Symptoms Of Indoor Allergies
The best way to prevent symptoms is to avoid exposure to the allergen in the first place. However, there are other treatments that can help curb symptoms after exposure has occurred. There are many medications in pharmacies that can treat allergies.
- Over-the-counter antihistamines. Antihistamines fight the effects of the histamine released by the body during an allergic reaction, thus reducing the symptoms.
- Decongestants reduce swelling in the nasal passages.
- Prescription medications. Prescription medications vary depending on the prescription and the allergy being treated.
Although many over-the-counter medications can be effective against some symptoms, people who experience severe symptoms should work with their physician to obtain prescription medications. Allergy immunotherapy treatments can also be very effective, but they are only available to people who see their physician. These treatments work by exposing the immune system to small doses of the allergen, thus reducing the immune response. Allergy immunotherapy treatments take about 3 years to complete and require periodic visits to the doctor for allergen shots.
Monitor And Manage Humidity
Use a hygrometer to measure the relative humidity in your home. If the humidity rises above 50%, run your air conditioner, use a dehumidifier and turn on vents in rooms like the kitchen and bathroom. If humidity is a regular problem in your home, even if youre running the air conditioner, have your air conditioner inspected by an HVAC professional. It may be that your unit is not working properly, or that its incorrectly sized for your house.
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Maintain Plants And Pets
Most of us enjoy having a home full of houseplants, flowers, and pets. But the downside here is when you realize the allergies youve been experiencing are due to your furry friends or aromatic greenery. The soil used in potted plants can actually grow moldy, so its actually best to leave them outside. If you absolutely must have some plants inside your home, coat the surface of the soil with aquarium gravel. Or, go with artificial plants for the inside of your home. They look pretty and wont bother any guests!
As far as your animals are concerned, before you even adopt a cat, dog, or any other fuzzy wuzzy pet, make sure youre not allergic in the first place. If youre already past that point, but dont have the heart to give little Fido away, at least keep him neatly groomed. Get him outside as much as possible, and definitely dont let him sleep on your bed. Youre just asking for breathing problems if you do.
Where Do Allergens Come From
Hay fever affects 400 million people worldwide, asthma affects 300 million people, and food allergies affect 200-250 million people.
The bottom line?
Allergens are everywhere. Defined simply as molecules that can cause allergy, allergens like tree pollen, mold, dust mites, and dander are always all around us.
The problem arises when the body mistakes these substances as a threat. When that happens, the immune system flares up, and we develop allergies. This process is why nobody is ever born with allergies. Instead, we develop them when our immune systems encounter foreign molecules. Thats why taking steps to allergy-proof your home is so important.
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Is It Possible To Control Indoor Allergens
You can control indoor allergens with cleaning and reducing allergens in your home. The main sources of indoor allergens are:
- Mattresses that arent in allergy covers
- Pillows and bedding you cant wash in hot water
There may be more allergens on surfaces than in the air. Surface allergens enter the air easily when you disturb them by dusting or sitting.
Want To Learn More About Allergies Check Out Our Other Articles
Internal medicine physicians in Raleighlike the experts at Raleigh Medical Groupunderstand how all the systems in the body work together. This places us in a unique position to help those who have chronic allergies.
Weve got the resources you need to learn more about this condition and things that can help you manage your symptoms. Read our previous blog posts:
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Indoor Allergies How To Allergy
Do your allergy symptoms drive you crazy year-round? If so, then you’re not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from allergic rhinitis each year. If find yourself feeling stuffy or even miserable year-round from allergic rhinitis caused by common indoor allergens like pet dander or dust mites, it might be time to allergy-proof your home.
Antihistamines and decongestants can help for a while, but theyre not an ideal long-term solution. Antihistamines can cause drowsiness . Decongestants can be stimulating, which can keep you up at night if you take them too late in the day.
Many people use a SinuSonic to effectively reduce congestion and stuffiness, two common allergy symptoms, but it doesnt prevent an inflammatory histamine response when exposed to allergens. Thats why we recommend also reducing your exposure to the allergens triggering your allergic response.
You cant eliminate all allergens, indoor or outdoor, but if you follow our recommendations below you can reduce your exposure inside your home.
Before we explore all the ways you can allergy-proof every room in your house, lets review some of the common sources of indoor allergies and their symptoms.