5 Tips To Turn Your Home Into A Bubble Against Allergies
If you suffer from allergies, you may be surprised to find that your own home is filled with allergens that are causing your misery. Make your home into your safe haven by following these five tips:
1. Clean Everything, Often
A clean, well-maintained house is most imperative for allergy prevention. Cleaning reduces or even eliminates allergens in the home and there are several aspects to be considered:
- Clean Floors. Ninety percent of homes have carpet, but their popularity may be unwarranted. A recent report showed that typical carpet contains very high levels of toxic chemicals, including mercury, lead, and cadmium (1). These are likely introduced by walking with shoes on the carpet, but cooking and cleaning residues contribute to the problem too. The remedy is simple; take off your shoes at the door, turn on the fan over the stove to ventilate cooking odors, and switch to environmentally-friendly cleaning products. Keep dust mites out of the carpet by vacuuming with a HEPA filter often.
- Clean Bedding. Dust mites thrive in warm, soft environments-particularly mattresses. There are between 2 and 3 million dust mites in the average mattress, and their droppings are allergens that provoke nasty reactions. To minimize them, wash bedding regularly and seal mattresses inside protective covers. Invest in anti-allergy bedding, or at least in the pillow-case. If you have children and they sleep with bed toys, wash those regularly too.
- Clean People. If you and your family suffer from seasonal allergies, then keep pollen from entering your home with you. When you get home, immediately change your clothes and take a shower; pets should also be bathed as often as possible.
- Prevent Mold. If you have houseplants, add a layer of pea-shingle over the top of the soil to discourage mold growth. Run the fan in the bathroom for at least a half hour after taking a shower.
2. Filter Your Air
Especially helpful for seasonal allergies, turning on the air conditioning will filter out pollen and other air pollutants. Use a very fine filter designed especially for pollen, and be sure to change it regularly. You can also use:
- An electrostatic air filter, which is helpful for smoke, dust, pollens, molds, and more.
- HEPA filters will also eliminate these allergens, but they can be clogged by smoke.
- Activated carbon filters to remove odors and chemicals from the air
- A dehumidifier may also help, as it pulls the moisture that is so hospitable to dust mites.
3. No Pets Allowed
Pet allergies are extremely common in children; cat allergens can be worse than dust mites. Cats have a more pervasive dander than dogs, and their dander collects on walls, carpet, clothing, and upholstery. It can take up to two years to fully rid a house of cat dander! Popular rumors circulate that certain pets like Chihuahuas and Siamese cats don't shed their hair and are therefore allergy-friendly. This is refuted by doctors however, because it is actually the dander that is the allergen at large, not the hair, although hair can aggravate allergies too. If you absolutely must have a pet, opt for fish or reptiles.
4. Thank you for not Smoking
All efforts you make to allergy-proof your home will be rendered useless if you smoke or if anyone in your family smokes. Smoking causes persistent allergy and asthma symptoms, and studies show that children who are exposed to cigarette smoke suffer a 50% greater risk of developing asthma. Confining smoking to outdoors is not enough; pollutants will linger on your clothes and hair, and smoke can find its way into the house through a window. Quit smoking, and enjoy myriad health benefits including calmer allergies and asthma.
5. Use fewer Chemicals
We buy six times as many bath and shower products today than 20 years ago. Many of these products contain harsh chemicals that break down the layer of fat that protects skin, allowing allergens and irritants to pass into the skin. Switch out your soaps and detergents with emollients, which are just as effective without the harsh side effects. Apply this to housecleaning products as well; many chemicals in these can be allergens. Use natural and environmentally safe products and you may find yourself breathing easier. Follow these steps and you will soon be enjoying life in a bubble against allergies.
Photo Credit: zzub nik