Are you sneezing? What about coughing and watering eyes? If you recognize these symptoms in you or a family member, you are probably one of the 20% Americans who suffer from allergies. You can be allergic to a lot of things, from pollen to strawberries, but staying inside the house is not an option, as your home is packed with potential allergens. Dust, mold, bed bugs and dust mites are only some of the factors which can lead to an allergic reaction. To make sure you are going to cut down the time you spend with a running nose, learn how to allergy-proof your house!
However, first check with the doctor and find out what you’re allergic to, then follow the next steps on how to remove pet dander, pollens and dust mites from your home.
Start with your own bedroom
Did you know our lashes are home to eyelash mites? Your bellybutton also has some guests, so it won’t come as a surprise to find out your bedroom is filled with allergens. First, there is dust, which contains the notorious dust mites and is a powerful allergy trigger, so first thing you need to do is vacuum and dust everything in the room. Pay attention to your pillows and mattress as well. Speaking of mattresses, they carry another common allergen: bed bugs. To reduce your risk of developing an allergy from these little guys, make sure you vacuum the mattress and spray it with a bed bug extermination spray.
Use special dust mite covers and make sure you replace all the covers at least once a month.
No more rugs and drapes
The next step on your quest to allergy-proof your house is to replace the rugs, carpets and drapes. In fact, you have two options here: you can either replace them with new ones or simply give up on them for good. Carpets and drapes attract dust and pollen, so in time, they can become a real problem. Each time you step on the carpet or you drag the drapes, you are releasing the allergens into air.
If you can, give up on the carpet and replace it with a small rug, which can be cleaned easier; instead of drapes, put blinds or a type of window treatment which is compatible with frequent machine washes.
If you live in an old house, the hardwood flooring might be a real problem: just like carpets, it becomes clogged with dust, dander, pollen and microscopic mites, which irritate your nose, eyes and throat. The solution: replace it as soon as possible.
No shoes rule
Each time you walk inside the house, you carry pollen, dust and other tiny debris on your shoes. To avoid spreading them all over the house, put a doormat inside the house and one outside the house. Apart from that, buy multiple slippers and have them near the door, so each time you or a guest comes inside, they can easily take off the shoes and leave them at the door, along with all those allergens.
Upgrade your vacuum cleaner
A vacuum with a HEPA filter can make wonders for cleaning and allergy-proofing your house: they can remove really fine particles of dust and debris. This means your house is going to be cleaner, so don’t neglect updating your vacuum if you have an old one.
Change the air filters
When talking on how to allergy-proof your house one can’t stress enough on the importance of replacing the air filters. Your cooling system traps and circulates all those mites and disgusting particles which cause your allergies. In time, exposure to this cocktail of old dust, pollen and moulds, can increase your risk of developing asthma or another respiratory condition. To avoid this, replace the filters once or twice a year, making sure there is no foul smell coming from the AC system.
Watch out for those vents
When you are replacing the filters, you can also check where the air is being circulated: if your system is recirculating indoor air, via the attic, you’ve just found your biggest enemy. Replace the system with one able to take out the moist, heavy air from your house.
Mold is another huge culprit for allergies and it develops in wet, dirty places, like the back of the sink, the shower curtain and cracked tiles. Inspect your bathroom and kitchen and if you find a crack, seal it. Make sure the surfaces are always clean and dried off, to prevent mold formation.
5 scary facts about the creatures you share your house (and bed) with
- Bed bugs know when you are asleep by measuring the carbon dioxide in your breath; they never come out in the day.
- Bed bug bites can lead to a violent allergic reaction with red, bright blisters.
- Dust mites live on your hair and skin.
- An average pillow increases its weight by 10% in six months all because the number of dust mites and their poop.
- Synthetic fabrics are a dust mite’s best friends, as they can trap moisture, making your bed a dust mite heaven: warm, moist and dark. Where does the moisture comes from? A person sweats about one litre during sleep.
Featured photo credit: paultom2104/Flickr via flickr.com