Spring is here with all the associated outdoor allergies, but if most of your sneezing and itchy eyes are happening inside, they could be triggered by things in your home. Here are some of the more common allergens and how to fix them.
“The most common triggers for allergies inside the home include house dust mites—which accumulate in mattresses and bedding—and animal dander from pets,” says Dr. Stanley Fineman, an allergist and a spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
Wash bedding once a week in hot water, and consider using mattress and pillow covers. Keep pets out of the bedroom; but if that’s not an option, giving your dog a bath more frequently can help reduce dander.
Bathrooms without windows or good ventilation can be perfect environments for mold and mildew.
To keep mold growth in check, it’s important to fix any leaks in or near the shower, sink, toilet, or tub.
Always wear protective clothing, gloves, and a mask when handling mold-damaged materials, he says, and use disposable cloths or sponges to avoid spreading mold spores to other areas of the home. Run an exhaust fan for at least 15 to 20 minutes after showering.
Use dehumidifiers or exhaust fans, or crack open a window, to help reduce moisture and humidity in bathrooms or other rooms in your home.
Check all waterlines such as sinks and dishwashers for any leaks—since mold can grow around water sources. It can also grow in trash cans, refrigerator seals, and cabinets, so check these areas as well and remove mold right away by cleaning with soap.
Cockroaches are a common pest that can also be a source of allergens. Similar to dust mites, the cockroach’s waste and body can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive people. Avoid roaches by not leaving sources of water and food out at night. Put your pet’s
The living room gets lots of foot traffic, making it a central location for irritants and allergens that affect indoor air quality.
Avoid fabric curtains because they collect dust. Instead, use bamboo or wood window treatments. Leather or faux-leather furniture can be wiped clean of dust. Keep pets off furniture, too.
Wash throw blankets and rugs weekly in hot water. If you have carpet, consider replacing it with hard flooring if possible. If hard flooring isn’t an option, vacuum the carpet on a weekly basis.dishes and food away, too.
Again, the absence of ventilation, dampness, and darkness can make basements a breeding ground for mold. Use a dehumidifier, especially in the more humid months.
Avoid carpeting and consider cork flooring since it’s naturally antimicrobial and a fire retardant.
Run the air conditioner during hot, humid weather, but change or clean the filters once a month for window units and every three months for central air systems.
To keep dust and allergens in check, consider investing in a room air purifier.