If you suffer from allergies, you know how a runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing can wreak some serious havoc on your daily life, especially during the summer months when pollen, grass, and ragweed are at their peak. According to the Canadian Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Foundation, 20% to 25% of Canadians suffer from allergic rhinitis (sometimes referred to as “hay fever”). But some allergens aren’t seasonal and can cause you irritation throughout the entire year if you don’t address them at the source.

From pet dander to mould and dust, there are many indoor sources of allergens that can leave you sneezing and wheezing. The good news is an allergen-reduced home is possible, you just need to know how to minimize the most common household allergens.

A closeup of pollen mist coming from a plant
 Photo by Alex Jones on Unsplash

What are allergies?

Allergens are microscopic substances that cause an immune response when your body encounters them, either through inhalation, touch, injection, or consumption. Typical allergies symptoms include:

  • sneezing;
  • coughing;
  • runny nose;
  • itchy, watery eyes;
  • itchy skin;
  • asthma;
  • gastrointestinal; and
  • anaphylaxis (the most severe type of reaction).

If you suspect you have allergies, it’s best to have an allergy assessment done by a healthcare professional to identify your specific triggers. 

A closeup of cat fur and dander on a couch

Common allergens found in your home

The first line of treatment for allergies at home is to avoid them. The main sources of allergens within your home are:

  • pets and pet dander;
  • rugs and carpeting;
  • upholstered furniture and fabric drapery;
  • bedding, pillows, and throw blankets;
  • damp and moist areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, and basements;
  • indoor plants and flowers; and
  • mattresses.

Controlling allergies in your home is easier than you might think. Once you identify the source, purchasing a few products and developing good cleaning habits can help keep those allergies at bay.

A home air purifier

1. Air filtration

Since most of the common home-based allergens are airborne, improving air quality should be at the top of your list. High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters for your central heating and air conditioning system are a good place to start. Portable air cleaning devices that use HEPA filters have become more affordable and commonplace in the home, too, as have UV light filters that can help reduce allergens. 

Using a dehumidifier can reduce the dampness and moisture that can cause mould. Cigarette smoking should always be avoided within a home and you might want to reconsider using that wood-burning fireplace.

A man vacuums a mattress of home allergens

2. Clean smart

If anyone in your family suffers from dust allergies, it’s important to stay on top of cleaning. Vacuuming flooring, mattresses, and upholstered furniture once or twice a week with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter can reduce dust mites and dander. Robotic vacuums, can help you stay on top of cleaning…without having to do the work yourself. When dusting, it’s best to start at the top and work your way down to avoid lingering dust particles falling to areas you’ve just cleaned. 

And toss that feather duster! Opt for a damp microfiber cloth that’ll trap dust versus just moving it around. If you’re allergic to housework (yes, literally) wear a mask to avoid breathing in dust.

A man and pet cat sit on a couch

3. Pay attention to pets

Depending on the severity of your allergies, people who have allergies to animal dander often avoid having pets. If you can’t live without your best friend, there are ways to minimize your allergic reactions. First and foremost, keep them out of your bedroom. This means closing your door when you leave the house or committing to training to teach them boundaries. Frequent brushing and bathing can capture skin cells, reducing spread around the home. Clean pet toys, beds, and accessories regularly, too. Lastly, if your pets have long fur, ensure you’re giving them a wipe down when they come inside during outdoor allergy season to help prevent them from tracking in pollen. 

A woman sitting in an air conditioned living space

4. Stay cool and cough-free with A/C

There’s nothing like a refreshing breeze through an open window on a warm summer day, but you’re essentially inviting allergens into your home. If possible, close up those windows and use your air conditioning system instead. Not only can it prevent outdoor allergens from getting in, but a cool, dry house can also reduce dust mites and mould. Maintain an indoor temperature between 20 C and 22 C, and keep relative humidity at 50%.

A father and daugher in dining room sweeping and cleaning windows to remove dust and other allergens

5. Reconsider your flooring

Rugs and carpets are notorious traps for allergens. Removing area rugs and replacing carpeted areas with hardwood, tile, or vinyl reduces allergen build-up. If you do choose to go with a rug or carpet, consider short-pile or no-pile styles, or washable rugs that can easily be tossed into the washing machine.

A mother helps her daugher put on a jacket in a home foyer

6. They shall not pass! 

Like with pets, pollen can also hitch a ride on those who are entering your home—on clothing, boots, and hair. Prevent it from spreading by addressing it immediately at the entrance of your home. Remove shoes or boots outside, hang jackets and coats in a closet, and keep a laundry hamper nearby if clothing needs to be removed and isolated. Heading straight to the shower can help rinse away allergens from skin and hair.

A father and son sit in a laundry room

7. Do the laundry

Dust mites are extremely common and found in almost all upholstered furniture, fabric drapery, bedding, pillows, throw blankets, and plush toys. Toss anything machine washable into the laundry every week to help reduce dust mites and pet dander. And if possible, wash in hot water.

Allergies can derail your day—or season!—even when you’re in the comfort of your own home. But, by following these steps, hopefully you’ll be breathing easier in no time.

Courtesy: realtor.ca

Posted by Infinity Admin on


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