Nothing puts a damper on summer quite like allergies. Itchy throats, runny eyes and blocked noses can make it rather difficult to achieve that sizzling summer glow! While medication can help alleviate symptoms, there are many other ways to help decrease the presence of allergens in your home environment.
Medically speaking, when allergies play up, your immune system is responding abnormally to a certain substance (such as dust).
The most common allergies experienced are those in response to pollen, dust, pet dander or mould (or if you’re really unlucky, a combination of these). Establishing what it is you are specifically allergic to will help greatly in terms of knowing how to lessen the adverse symptoms and make life easier for yourself or family members battling this allergy. A visit to an allergist should be able to give you an indication of what it is you need to be wary of. Identifying what triggers your allergies is one of the most useful things you can do when it comes to allergy-proofing your home.
Keep humidity at a happy medium. If you don’t already own a humidifier, invest in one. Then set the humidity levels to 50%. As dust and pollen are more easily provoked in dry air, and mold thrives in moist air, this will ensure you avoid the worst of both environments.
Fall in love with filters. Make sure you replace the filters in your heating and cooling systems. This is an essential part of keeping the air in your home clean. Also make a note of the next time the filter needs to be changed in your calendar, as well as every time you swap an old one out for a new one.
Work your windows. Windows are an inbuilt barrier to pollen in the home. As pollen counts are generally at their peak between 10am and 3pm, and during windy conditions, it’s advisable to keep windows closed at these times.
Skip the shoes. Embracing a no-shoes policy and upgrading doormats will help to keep dust, pollen and more from entering your house in the first place. Make this a fuss free process for guests and household members by placing shoe friendly baskets at all doors and ensuring ample doormats are present.
Vacuum with extra va-va-voom. Invest in a BISSELL bag-less vacuum cleaner, or one that features an easily interchangeable bag, so that the dust stays on the inside while making the switch.
Cover you bases. Dust mite covers are a great way to protect your sleeping quarters. Protect your mattresses and pillows from mites and rest easy.
Cut the clutter. Clutter may as well be referred to as the king of dust magnets. The less clutter in your house, the easier it is to clean, and the less dust you will have to battle on a daily basis.
Put the pets away. Pets in bedrooms spell allergy-style disaster. Bedrooms are generally home to heavy, thick fabrics that can trap and hold onto allergens from pets, as well as dust and a host of other things. Try and limit pets to areas with hard or easy to wipe down surfaces, like living rooms with wooden floors and leather sofas. If you aren’t able to prevent your pets from entering the bedrooms, then consider investing in a pet vacuum cleaner specifically designed to tackle the cleaning challenges that come with pet ownership.
Sacrifice soft surfaces. Yes, soft fabrics and carpets are cozy, but if you’re too busy sneezing and spluttering to enjoy them, then what’s the point? When selecting items like couches, curtains and flooring for your home, opt for easy to clean furnishings made from leather, wood, tiling, plastic or metal. (Or use a BISSELL carpet cleaner with a carpet and upholstery cleaner.)
Dust with a damp cloth. It may sound strange, but dusting your fabric furniture with a damp cloth regularly can help eliminate dust in a spot where you probably spend a fair amount of time.
Turn up the heat. Wash all the fabric items you can (rugs, curtains, bedding, kids stuffed animals etc.) once a week in hot water. Hot water is more effective than cold in effectively removing dust and dust mites.
Pamper the pets. Bathing your pets often can help to reduce the level of airborne pet dander in your home. Ask a non-allergic family member to be responsible for washing and brushing the pet(s), as well as managing the pet litter situation.
Up the filter factor. Embrace a little DIY and use a dense fabric like cheese cloth over your air conditioning vents to help filter the air of potentially harmful allergens even more.
Be picky with plants. Obviously if pollen is your poison, you want to be sure your garden isn’t a pollen farm. Plants that have heavier pollen (which are also plants that happen to be pollinated by insects – making it easier to tell which is which) are considered more “allergy friendly”. This is because the pollen doesn’t travel through the air as easily and therefore is less likely to trigger allergy symptoms in sufferers. If In doubt, ask an assistant at the nursery, as they should be able to help point you to more allergy-friendly foliage.
Don’t do damp. Be sure to turn on the exhaust fan or open the window during and after bathing or showering. This will go a long way in helping to keep moisture levels at a minimum. As mold needs moisture to grow, this is one way to help beat the problem before it begins.
Wipe it down. After using the bath or shower, wipe down the area with a dry cloth so that as little water is left in the bathroom as possible. This will help to prevent mold growing in these often functionally damp spaces.