Megan Ray Nichols
It’s one thing to sneeze, cough and itch while you’re outside — it’s quite another to suffer inside of your own home.
Nevertheless, allergy season can make it feel like that’s the norm. It turns out there are some simple methods you can put into practice to make your home a safe haven from everything outside, allergies included. Here are three easy ways to make it happen:
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1. | Take Care of Yourself
Surprisingly, personal hygiene is a great way to decrease the number of allergens floating around in your home. At the height of allergy season, just stepping outside means you could be collecting pollen and other allergens that will come back inside with you.In order to prevent this pesky debris from sticking to upholstered surfaces — the bed is one place notorious for gathering dust, pollen and more — be sure to wash your hands whenever you re-enter your home. If you don’t have plans to leave the house again, take a shower to remove any particles from your skin. And, of course, slip into something clean after you’ve washed off so you get into bed completely clean.
Some who suffer from allergies make a point to clean out their noses and nostrils after being outside. A simple saltwater nasal rinse can do wonders in your personal-hygiene routine to remove allergens from your system.
2. | Keep Your Home Tidy
Regular cleaning of your home is another effective way to eradicate allergens. We touched on the bedroom being a harbor for dust and other typical allergens, which is why it’s an important place to start your scouring. Cover your mattress with a protector to keep debris from settling permanently into it. Then, regularly wash your bedding with gentle, natural cleansers to keep any other irritants away from your skin.The same goes for the rest of your house: choose gentle cleaners that won’t further irritate your allergies. For some, that might be a green, chemical-free cleaner. For others, it means going even simpler with homemade solutions that incorporate baking soda, vinegar, lemon and other natural cleaners.
You can also use these natural cleansers to tackle the rest of your required home cleaning duties. This once-monthly task should cover cleaning upholstery and curtains, dusting shelves and other surfaces with a wet cloth to pick up all irritants and vacuuming away any lingering debris.
3. | Seal off the Interior — as Much as Possible
You can’t keep traffic from making its way in and out of your home, but you can do your best to pare down the amount of particles brought in with it.The first place to start is with pets, who pick up pollen and other irritants on their fur and paws. At the very least, wipe down their feet when they come indoors. An extreme case of pollen, for example, might call for a post-walk bath for pups who are seriously dusted. You should also keep your pets out of the bedroom during allergy season, especially.
You can also make a point to take your shoes and outerwear off as soon as you walk in the door to at least keep it contained to a small entryway or mudroom area. The amount of dust, dirt, bacteria, and other allergens found on a typical pair of shoes is enough to incentivize you to do so.
You can build a better line of defense outside, too, by keeping your lawn manicured and low. High blades of grass will hold onto more allergens and pass them onto whoever walks through — you and your pets included.
No matter how nice the weather is outside, allergy season requires that you keep your home’s windows closed. Create a cool breeze with your air-conditioning system or by installing a new model to make the interior environment more comfortable.
When looking for a new system, make sure to compare ratings of multiple HVACs so you find the perfect one to keep your home clear of allergens. The right machine will have no problem filtering out pollen and refreshing the air inside your home, just as a spring or summer breeze would. In the off-season, be sure to have your unit serviced so it can perform its best when allergens roll back into town.
These are just three ways to reduce allergens in your home, but together, they prove it’s both simple and possible to do. So, keep up with your personal hygiene, cleaning rituals and closed-door policy, and breathe a little easier — this allergy season and beyond.
Megan Ray Nichols is the editor of Schooled By Science. She is a science writer who enjoys writing about the environment and green living among other scientific topics. Megan likes to incorporate what she learns into her daily life. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, camping, fishing and going to the movies.