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Allergy Tips

Indoors

Mold, pet dander, and dust mites are the most common culprits of winter allergies. In most situations, the key is avoidance.

Keep Dust-mites away

Dust mites survive on the skin we shed. So if a dust-mite allergy is the problem, wash your bed sheets weekly in hot water (above 130 degrees) and invest in allergen-reducing mattress covers.

Mold

Mold loves moisture, so it grows especially well in damp rooms such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry areas.  Turn on the exhaust fan when showering or cooking to remove excess humidity and odors.  Use a mold/mildew spray to clean moldy areas, including shower curtains, tiles, etc. and Wipe the sink and counter every day to remove puddles of water and moisture.

Get a dehumidifier

Dust mites and molds flourish in a humid environment.  Keep your indoor humidity level between 30–40 percent with the help of a humidifier or dehumidifier, to help prevent the growth of mold and mites.

Clean Every Surface

Wear a mask and gloves when cleaning, vacuuming, or painting to limit dust and chemical exposure. Vacuum twice a week. Clean your carpets with a HEPA vacuum to decrease dust mites and pet allergen levels. Mopping floors is also effective. Scrub refrigerators, sinks, tubs, floors, and garbage cans regularly to keep build-up — and your allergy symptoms — to a minimum.

Pet Dander

If pet dander gets you sneezing, ban pets from your bedroom, and keep the door closed. Pet dander can linger in the house for months, triggering symptoms even after the pets no longer live there.

Never Allow Pets On the Bed. What many people don't know, though, is that allergens around the house and in their bedroom often come from their pets. Pets can bring in mold, dander (little flakes off of their skin and coats), and pollen from outdoors.

Consider Using Slip Covers

Use washable slip covers and cushions, and wash in 130-degree hot water once a week.

Limit Rugs

Limit throw rugs to reduce dust and mold. If you do have rugs, make sure they are washable.

Keep Indoor Air Clean

Keep windows closed to reduce pollen entering the house. Change filters in air conditioning units and vents frequently this time of year.  Install high-efficiency furnace filters, which capture 30 times more allergens, and make sure your furnace fan is always on.When changing filters, place used filter in plastic garbage bag, then dispose outdoors to limit accidental “pollen spills” indoors.

Keep Pollen Under Control

To tame pollen, wash bedding every week in hot water. Wash your hair and shower before going to bed, since pollen can accumulate in hair.

Avoid hanging clothes outdoors to dry

Wet laundry is a magnet for pollen.

 

Outdoors

Snuggling by the fireplace or fire pit may not be the best idea. The smoke from wood fires can irritate the nose and lungs in people with allergy. Be sure that when bringing in any firewood into the home that it's been cleaned and checked for mold.

Perform an indoor and outdoor survey of the house every month to look for visible mold and identify areas at high risk for mold formation, such as a pile of firewood close to the house or an area of the basement with a musty odor.

Tree, grass and ragweed pollens thrive during cool nights and warm days. Tree, grass and ragweed pollens thrive during cool nights and warm days.

Check the Weather

Tree, grass and ragweed thrive during cool nights and warm days.

Information about your local pollen level is available on the Internet or in your local paper. If pollen counts are supposed to be particularly high on a given day, you can play it safe by staying inside. In general, pollen counts are highest on warm and breezy mornings and low on cool and rainy days.

Choose the Right Time of Day

According to many experts, the time of day you choose to spend time outside matters. Most pollens reach peak levels around noon or early afternoon.

Change Your Clothes and Shower After Spending Time Outdoors

During pollen season, your clothing and hair could be covered with pollen.  So when you get home, it's not a bad idea to change your clothes and toss them in the laundry. You could also take a shower to rinse off any allergen left on your skin or in your hair.

Consider a Less Intense Exercise

Sometimes, opt for less intense activities. If the pollen count or pollution levels are high, skip your usual jog or bike ride and choose a less intense form of exercise.

Protect your eyes and lungs

To block pollen and other irritants from getting into your system during outdoor exercise, some people exercise with a mask or bandanna over their nose and mouth. Another trick is to wear goggles to protect your eyes from irritation from allergens.