Spring allergy season is here and all that pollen is not only in the air outside, but following you into your home. Every time you open your windows for a breath of “fresh air,” forget to take your shoes off or skip an evening shower, you are spreading that pollen around your home. And it’s not just pollen making you sneeze – many people are also allergic to dust mites and mold. Spring-cleaning can do more than make your home look nice – it can help prevent allergy symptoms.
- Keep the Outdoors Out – If you know that freshly cut grass triggers your allergies, don’t open the windows on a day when you or your neighbords are mowing. Similarly, if cherry tree pollen gets you, be aware of the peak season and keep those windows closed. When you come inside, be sure to remove your shoes, especially before stepping on carpeting as the pollen can get trapped in the fibers. Make a habit of taking a shower before bed to wash off the pollen and avoid bringing it into your sleeping environment. Allergens that are tracked indoors can stay potent enough to cause symptoms for a few days.
- Vacuum with a HEPA Filter – Vacuuming seems like an effective strategy to suck up the dust and pollen. But if you’re not using a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, you could be releasing those irritants right back into the room while you clean.
- Wash Bedding Weekly – Dust mites are the most common trigger of indoor allergy and asthma symptoms, and they thrive on soft a surface, which means your greatest exposure to them is through your mattress. Plus, without that shower, you’re going to bring any pollen that’s in your hair and on your body to bed with you. Bedding should be washed in hot (130°F) water and dried on a hot cycle.
- Institute a “Shoes Off” Policy – It’s okay to ask guests to remove their shoes upon entering your home. Make it easy for your friends to comply by adding a small bench and convenient storage area for shoes upon entry. Lead by example by keeping your shoes there as well. You can also hang a decorative sign asking guests to take their shoes off.
- Maintain Proper Humidity – Mold loves humidity! Use a humidistat to monitor how much moisture is in the air. Indoor humidity levels should be kept below 50 percent. In especially damp areas (like basements) run a dehumidifier and empty and clean the holding tank regularly. If you have air conditioning, be sure to use it in humid weather to remove moisture from the air, and replace the air filter monthly during peak allergy season.