People like to talk about allergy season, but for those who are allergic to allergens commonly found in the home, every season is allergy season. This can make living at home, the one place where you should be the most comfortable, one of the least comfortable places you can be. So what can you do about it? To start, you can begin to understand what the biggest sources of allergies are in a home.
Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew are never a good thing to have around the home. They can present a danger to your health and your home. If you have a mold allergy and breathe in or touch mold spores, you could find yourself suffering from itchy, watery eyes, a cough, sneezing, and even hives. If you have a more severe allergy, you could experience shortness of breath as well. Mold and mildew are most commonly found in areas of the home that are prone to excess moisture, such as basements, bathrooms, and kitchens. It’s important for these areas to be well and regularly cleaned, properly ventilated, and to have the humidity under control to reduce the risk of mold and mildew taking hold.
You may have heard your carpet being referred to as your home’s biggest filter. It’s true. Carpet catches pretty much everything that falls to the ground in your home. While that means all those things aren’t floating around in the air, it also means that your carpet is now full of allergens that can be a real problem for you. Because of the sheer volume of allergens that can get trapped in your carpet, replacing your carpet flooring with a more allergy-friendly flooring option may be worth considering. If you prefer to keep your carpet, vacuum it regularly with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter. That should help reduce the number of allergen particles that get thrown up in the air as you’re vacuuming.
If you’re getting the right amount of sleep, you should be spending about ⅓ of your life on your mattress. That can lead to a lot of dead skin cells, hair, and dander getting left behind, which provides a source of food for dust mites. Dust mites can be a nasty allergen for some. If you have a dust mite allergen, they could be at least partially responsible for you not getting the quality sleep you need. Add hypoallergenic covers to your mattress, box springs, and pillows, and opt for washable bedding. Washing your bedding regularly can help remove the debris dust mites would otherwise feed on, making your bed a less attractive place for them to be.
Dogs are man’s best friend, and they’ve proved it time and time again. Unfortunately, dogs like golden retrievers carry a lot of allergens. If you have an allergy to pet hair, being around dogs and other pets can result in watery and itchy eyes, itchy skin, and a runny nose, among other symptoms. The severity of the allergic reaction will vary from person to person. If yours are mild, you may still find it bearable to be around them. Don’t allow them on the furniture or bed, however. If you have an allergy to pet hair or dander and still want to have one, look into types of pets and specific breeds that are hypoallergenic. That way you have the chance to enjoy the benefits of companionship without suffering from your allergies.
Indoor plants offer multiple benefits to those who are around them and care for them. Unfortunately, they can also be a source of allergens for some people, especially if they give off pollen. This can be disappointing if you love being around plants and enjoy the benefits they offer. See if you can find plants that don’t cause you to suffer from allergies. Otherwise, choose to limit yourself to only having a small handful of plants around the house. Alternatively, you might opt for silk plants instead of real ones. You’ll still be able to enjoy the color they bring to the home while reducing your exposure to allergens. There are some impressively lifelike ones you can find these days.
Like your carpet and mattress, soft furniture can trap allergens, preventing you from being able to use the furniture without suffering from an allergy attack. Dust, mites, and dander all get stuck relatively easily to soft furniture. Regularly cleaning your furniture can help, but the better option may be to opt for furniture with smoother surfaces instead. Leather, vinyl, and ultrasuede can be better upholstery options for those with allergies since it can be easier to prevent allergens from collecting on them.
Similarly, stuffed toys can also collect and hold allergens. That can be pretty disappointing, especially if your children love snuggling with them. It may be better to have your children choose a couple of fluffy friends to snuggle with each night instead of a mountain of them. Look closely at the tags when you choose stuffed toys for your children. A lot of them are only supposed to be surface cleaned. Try to find ones that are machine washable instead.
It may seem a little strange to think about, but you may be one of the biggest sources of allergens in your home. Think about it. You track allergens like dust, pet hair, pollen, dander, and more into your home on your shoes, clothing, and hair. The good news is that you can take steps to address that problem easily enough. A tracking mat can help keep your shoes from tracking things into your home. Changing your clothes when you get home can help too, as can taking a shower before bed.
The problem areas specific to your home will depend on what allergies plague you the most. If you struggle with pollen allergens, you may not be looking for the same solutions that someone with a dust mite allergy might need. Once you’ve identified what the biggest sources of allergens in your home are for your specific allergy problems, you’ll be in a better position to address the issue.
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