5 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Allergy Season

Posted on Sep 3, 2020 in Health

Spring usually brings the energy of the freshly awaken sun and surrounds the towns in the amazing scent of flowers and blossoming trees. And, for some people, it is just one of the best seasons, with its mild temperatures and gentle refreshing showers. But another category starts preparing for what it seems the most difficult period of the year: the allergy season. If you are one of them, you know that what expects you is, in fact, a long period of sneezing, and coughing, and feeling your skin all itchy and dry.

While it is true that allergens are floating around all year round, one, in particular, emerges in spring, and it proves to be the most aggressive of all. As the flowers blossom, pollen starts filling the air, covering everything, including the exterior walls of the buildings, cars, our clothes, our hair, and basically every object that finds itself in their path.

And if you think that if you seclude yourself into the house, you will escape its effects, well, you may be wrong. Or you will need to isolate yourself completely, something we would say is a pretty extreme solution when you can just allergy-proof your home and turn it into a safe space for when you are not away. All you need to do is follow our tips and prepare for restful nights when congestion and itchiness will merely be bad memories.

What Causes Indoor Allergies?

Have you ever heard of “home fever”? It is an expression used by the non-profit organization Allergy UK to describe hay fever symptoms that may appear outside the allergy season. This type of allergy is caused by contaminants that are present in homes and outdoor all year round, like dust, cockroaches, dust mites, or mold. Pets can also be a strong source of allergens, contaminating the air with fur and dander.

Nevertheless, when spring begins, the symptoms are aggravated by the high quantities of pollen that start traveling through the air. Open windows and doors are the ones allowing pollen to enter the house, but according to a study conducted by Optima Institute, we are the main carriers, as it sticks to our clothes, shoes, skin, and hair, and then deposits on the objects around, contaminating couches, armchairs, and especially the bed. The symptoms don’t take long to appear. Sneezing, difficulties in breathing, and itchiness are the ones announcing the real “hay fever”.

How to Allergy-Proof Your Home?

It may seem impossible to avoid the effects of pollen allergy, or drugs may seem the only viable escape, but the truth is that with a bit of determination and help from your family or roommates, you will be able to create a barrier between you and this strong air contaminant.

In this direction, we have prepared some ideas, which have already been tested and have been recognized by professionals as being highly efficient against hay fever. Let’s take a look at them:

Take off your shoes and clothes as soon as you have entered the house

As we have explained, pollen tends to follow you home, so you wouldn’t want to spread it all over your living place. So, make sure to leave the shoes at the door and pick the first room available to remove your clothes, which should go directly into the washing machine for a high-temperature cycle. The next step is to take a shower and remove all the contaminants from your skin and hair. If you have a pet that has accompanied you outdoors, make sure to wipe it down as well, as pollen will cover its fur.

Moreover, pollen isn’t the only thing you can bring into your home from outdoors. Your clothes and skin will collect dust and all sort of chemicals that are floating freely into the air. If you live in a highly trafficked city, the particular matter emitted by the cars will combine with pollen, turning into some sort of a super allergen that becomes stickier. This is why you keep feeling bad even when you have to seek shelter indoors.

Keep the windows and doors shut

It is summer, it is hot, and the high humidity in the house may make it seem even hotter, but opening the windows isn’t a good idea. First, because the temperatures can be even higher outdoors, and you would only invite more heat into your house, and, secondly because the wind, even if we are talking about a light breeze, will push the pollen through your window, along with dust and possible bad odors. Note that this can sometimes happen even if you are keeping the windows shut if they are in bad shape. Cracks and openings will leave the pollen in.

So, make sure to replace your windows if they are really old and don’t close properly anymore or make repairs, and then rely on the air conditioner to get the right level of comfort. At the same time, you can use an app to determine when the levels of pollen are lower or the wind is weak to open the windows and freshen up the air inside.

Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum

With all the measures from above, pollutants can still find their way into your rooms, even if the amount will be more reduced. Thus, a good way to fight them is to vacuum everything and do it several times a week. You should pay attention to the carpets and upholstery, especially if you have pets and they have access outdoors. Correct hygiene will help you remove not only pollen traces but dust, dander, and fur.

Furthermore, it isn’t uncommon for people to ignore other objects that can be important dust gatherers. Decorative pillows, for example, are often forgotten. And stuffed toys as well.

Just consider that this action will make you struggle for a while, as you will stir all the allergens in the house. If a family member can be so kind as to do it for you, this is just perfect. You can also ask your roommate to do it and offer to take care of other chores. Nevertheless, if this scenario cannot be considered, make sure to arm yourself with a mask and gloves before proceeding to dust and vacuum the house.

Wash the bedding every week

The bedroom is the space where you are spending up to 8 hours every day, sometimes even more if you like to take afternoon naps, so your bedding can easily gather allergens if not washed frequently. Besides the pollen that can be carried in through your cloth or brought in by your pets, the big problem with bedding is that they collect dust mites. What are those? Teeny-tiny insects that thrive in dusty environments and which can easily become airborne due to their reduced weight.

Therefore, you should wash your bedding at least once a week and at high temperatures. And even if the smell of sundried linen seems tempting, it is better to avoid drying them outdoor in the spring, as they may gather pollen and actually aggravate your allergies.

Apart from the sheets and pillowcases, the mattress requires attention as well, as it can also hide allergens, so, vacuum it before setting fresh sheets on the bed.

Purify the Air

You can choose to create a safe space in your home, preferably in the bedroom, as here you will spend a good part of the day. Consider investing in a high-quality air cleaner that can circulate the air several times in an hour and reduce the level of air contamination to a minimum. These machines usually come with multiple filtering layers, each designed to fight a specific problem. Thus, they can remove not only pollen but bad odors left behind by pets, smoking, or unsuccessful cooking, large particles like lint and hair, and even dangerous substances that can be released by cleaning or home remodel products.

How to Select an Air Purifier for Allergy Relief?

These machines are considered some of the most efficient means against hay fever symptoms, as they function as an important barrier against the allergens that managed to enter the room. Nevertheless, not all units are designed specifically for this problem. For example, if you buy one using only an activated carbon filter, you will no longer be bothered by smells, but the sneezing and congestion won’t disappear.

So, here’s what you should look into when picking an air cleaner to help you fight allergies:

  • HEPA filtration – This is the most important criteria, and you should make sure that your machine uses a True HEPA filter. Don’t let yourself fooled by the low prices offered by manufacturers selling products with HEPA-like or HEPA-type filters. This is not the real deal and, even if they may remove large particles, this is not what you are interested in. Pollen and dust can only get filtered by thick-webbing filters.
  • Room Size – It doesn’t matter how performant the machine is if it wasn’t designed to cover the entire size of your room. Before going shopping, measure your room’s dimensions and calculate the area or the volume. You will find in each model’s specifications the area for which it is recommended. Note, however, that many companies tend to exaggerate this number, so it is better to pick a unit with a higher coverage area than your space really is.
  • CADR – This is actually a reliable measurement that will tell you how much pollutant-free air is delivered into the room per hour. The measurements are made by AHAM, which is a serious institution. Therefore, look for units that have been AHAM verified and compare their CADR rates for pollen, dust, and smoke. Pick one with a high clean air delivery rate.

Conclusion

Spring allergies may seem scary and hard to control. It seems that all of a sudden, your body doesn’t respond to your commands, and you are suffering from a 3-month flu. The best idea is always to check with your doctor, who can assess how strong your symptoms are. In some cases, allergy medication may be necessary. However, even if you are treating hay fever with drugs or natural remedies, allergen-proofing your house shouldn’t be neglected. First, because it helps you maintain proper hygiene, and, secondly, because it can offer relief and help you control your allergies more naturally.