Summer’s blossoms might be knocking you out — and not just by their beauty. Allergy season has arrived earlier this year with extra force. If you’re an allergy sufferer, and odds are good that you are, you probably already know that. About 40 million Americans now have what are known as indoor/outdoor allergies, with the most common triggers being tree, grass and weed pollen, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Experts say that this may be the worst allergy season on record. While you may stock up on allergy medication and tissues, isn’t there anything else a Mom can do? Here are some tips to reduce the effect of dust mites, spores and pollen.
A well-ventilated house and non-leaking ductwork is a first line of defense against bringing allergens into your living space. Use HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters in the air conditioning system. Maintain the humidity level in the house at about 50 percent. Mold likes moisture, and dust and pollen are easily stirred in dry air. Keep your windows closed when pollen counts are highest: in the early morning hours, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and in windy conditions. Pollen and mold spores settle on clothing, so when you come in from outdoors, remove your outer garments in the mudroom, and take a shower.
Clean up clutter. The less stuff in your house, the fewer places for allergens to hang out. And, just as important, the easier it will be to clean thoroughly once a week.
Your bathroom is for mold and your bedroom is for dust mites — heaven at home. Inspect water pipes for leaks and fix them. Regularly clean walls with a nontoxic cleaner. Make sure that ventilation fans are routed to the outside, and run them for 30 minutes after a shower or bath. Scrub away mold on pipes and fixtures.
Fabrics and carpeting generate help create dust by the breaking down of fibers. Consider pitching curtains, high-pile carpeting and upholstered furniture in the bedroom: all cozy accommodations for allergens. Become a fan of washable throw rugs over wood, linoleum, or tiled floors. Damp mop regularly, and clean walls and other surfaces. If you must have carpeting, make it short, tight pile and vacuum weekly with a cleaner that has a small-particle or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
While we can’t eliminate 100% of allergens we can at least minimize their impact.
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