Allergy-Proof Your Home
Guarding Your Home Against Seasonal Allergens
Many people suffer with seasonal allergies. The right medicine can help a lot, no doubt. Consulting your doctor to find out which allergy med addresses the particular allergen that is making you sick is a great start. But is your HOUSE making you sicker?! Read on to find out what you can do to avoid bringing the outside in. These six simple tips will make for a cleaner, more allergy-proof home on the inside when pollen is turning your car yellow on the outside!
Safeguarding Against Seasonal Allergens: Don't Let Your Home Become Part of the Problem
Maybe it's Autumn that takes you out. . . when the back-to-school blossoming of ragweed and goldenrod descends upon everyone. Maybe it's Spring, when the flowers and trees wake up from winter to spread their sunshine (and pollen). Stuffy noses, watery eyes, coughing in the night. You know the routine all too well. It's not long before these things take hold and give you a full-blown sinus infection, unless you stay on top of them.
Allegra, Zyrtec, Benadryl and others are all very good at covering the allergies for which they are formulated. Some of them cover pine and oak allergies. Others might help with pet dander or dust mites. Consult your physician or pharmacist to find out what is causing your allergy flare-up and which drug is best for you.
But in the meantime, what can you do prevent your own home from becoming part of the problem?
1. Use a surgical mask when you dust and vacuum. Glasses or goggles to protect your eyes would be wise, as well. Some of the worst sinus infections I have ever had were the result of sweeping pine pollen off of my front porch and inadvertently getting some of the yellow dust up my nose. Similarly, inside your house, if you are wiping dust off of a table, you're going to inevitably inhale some of it, if your face is not covered. Don't forget to wash your hands when you are finished cleaning! Or better yet, take a shower.
2. Close your windows! When the temperature is nice outside, we would all like to give the A/C unit a rest, but opening windows will cover the inside of your home with a (perhaps invisible) layer of what is making you sick. Those in the You-just-need-some-fresh-air camp will argue with this advice, but dismiss them. In this case, the "fresh air" is exactly what's killing you.
3. Take off your shoes. If everyone will take off his or her shoes upon entering your home, that will reduce the chances that they are tracking pollen around your house.
4. Bathe before bedtime. Take a shower or bath before bedtime, and do not go back outside the house again before you get in bed. The pollen that may have settled in your hair or on your skin during the day will rub off onto your sheets and pillows. There, you will continue to breathe the allergens all night long. Consider a person who is allergic to cats, but allows a cat to sleep on the pillow next to his head at night. The effect would be similar. The hot shower will also help to loosen any stuffiness in the sinuses, even if only temporarily.
5. Change your sheets and pillowcases. After you take that evening shower, change your bed linens to make sure that you are not re-contaminating yourself with yesterday's dust. Changing the sheets every single day is not a bad idea, but might not necessarily be needed. Just make sure to do it on the first day of the battle, and continue the bedtime bathing each night.
6. Change your air filters more frequently. Most people change the air filters in their homes once every 30-90 days. Even after 30 days, though, air filters can become coated with dust and pollen. Installing a new filter more frequently will keep the air cleaner.
Practicing these six simple tips should produce a marked improvement in your symptoms. The bedtime bath with clean sheets has made an enormous impact in my seasonal allergy battles. Here's to clear breathing and a cleaner house!
Dust Mite Covers
My allergist recommended that I try some mattress and pillow covers to help with my dust mite allergies.
A note about allergy shots
Something to consider for those who are highly allergic.
If your problem is severe, you may want to consider seeing an allergist. I recently did this because I felt that my allergies were negatively affecting my life for long periods of time. Allergy attacks make me very tired, and I was exhausted for the better part of two years after we moved into a new house. Waking up in the morning was difficult, no matter how many hours I had slept, due to congestion. I felt as if I had been drugged, lost my voice frequently, and had numerous other problems. Upon allowing the allergist to test me, I learned that I am violently allergic to something that grows near my house year-round. I was ready to end the cycle of sinus infections and medicines.
I recently began receiving shots for my allergies, and I already see an improvement. I love the fact that allergy shots are a natural remedy! Not only am I working toward not needing the allergy meds all the time, I am doing it in a natural way. I have forgotten to take my nose spray for several days in a row, and have made it through nights without Benadryl. During pollen season, I still have to do all the things I mentioned above. But I am not "sick all the time" as my husband used to say about me!
This is just something to consider if you feel your allergies are interfering with your life. Discuss it with your allergist!