Allergy season is torture when you suffer from serious, chronic allergies. It’s difficult to find treatment that helps, and you often can’t help the allergens you come into contact with.
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On the other hand, there are a few ways you can control your environment and minimize your allergy symptoms:
1. Protect Your Bed
You spend about a third of your life in bed. Unfortunately, this pillow-like surface is the perfect place for dander, dust mites, pollen, and more to collect. Along with cleaning your sheets and blankets regularly, consider mattress cleaning every couple of years.
You won’t be able to keep allergens out forever. Every 15 years or so, replace your mattress. Not only will you say goodbye to allergens, but you’ll get a better night’s rest!
2. Clean Your HVAC System
HVAC cleaning should be on your yearly spring and summer maintenance checklist. Air ducts can contain pollen, dust mites, and more allergens. When turned on, it will blow these into the air you breathe it in. Your air conditioning feels good, but dirty air could cause a bigger problem than you might realize.
3. Clean Window Screens
“Season after season, storm after storm, day after day your window screens protect your home from dirt, debris and critters. But, what that means is that they get dirty,” explains an article from the company Screens Unlimited. “And, if left uncleaned, the air that passes into your home will have a diminished quality. This is problematic for any home but particularly so for asthma and allergy sufferers.”
You can clean your screens at home using hot water and soap, but if you’re not up to the job, there are plenty of companies that can handle the maintenance for you.
4. Watch What You Eat
While your environment plays a large role in your allergy symptoms, pay attention to what goes inside your body. Carbs, sugars, red meats, spicy meals, and other heavy foods can make breathing more difficult. Raw foods at the height of allergy season can also carry allergens, even when scrubbed clean.
On the flip side, certain foods can clear your sinuses and make allergies manageable. Green tea, wasabi, Mediterranean food, low-salt, and omega-3s promote a healthier respiratory system.
5. Clean Up After Pets
Dogs and cats are fun to have around, but they’re no picnic for your allergies. Most pet lovers are willing to put up with their furry friends despite the allergies but cleaning up after them helps.
Vacuum daily, use a Swiffer to eliminate dust, bathe your animals regularly, have them spend more time outdoors, and limit their exposure to other rooms in the house. These steps will reduce pet dander throughout your home.
6. Control Pests
Household pests are a nuisance, but did you know they could also contribute to your allergies?
“Pests like flies, cockroaches, and rats are known to transmit hundreds of types of diseases, and they also come with a general stigma of filth – for good reason, too,” says a report from Pests.org. “As if the diseases aren’t bad enough, pests are also known to cause allergic reactions that can lead to asthma attacks.”
This is a good reason to pay for an exterminator, especially if you have asthma.
7. Prevent Mold and Mildew Growth
Mold and mildew can cause serious respiratory conditions, especially if it progresses to black mold. It’s fairly easy to prevent as long as you keep your house clean and dry. Tend to any leaks or plumbing issues immediately to avoid hidden problems.
8. Shampoo Your Carpets
For about $25 a day, you can rent a carpet cleaner for all the carpets in your house. Not only will this improve the appearance, but it will also reduce the number of allergens in the air.
If your allergies are severe, it might be time to remove your carpets. “If you have carpet now, you may want to look into switching to hardwood, tile, or linoleum floors,” suggests an article from WebMD. “They’re easier to clean and aren’t a haven for allergens.”
9. Use HEPA Filters
High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are installed in vacuum cleaners and air ducts to trap foreign particulates in the air like pollen and dust. When trapped in this filter, they can’t circulate in the air, meaning less to breathe in.
10. Get a Prescription
When natural remedies are exhausted, consider seeing a doctor. Over-the-counter drugs don’t always do the trick for severe allergies. A doctor might need to prescribe a stronger drug or an advanced treatment plan to manage them.
Your doctor might suggest a set of allergy shots administered for a year or two. By the end of the trial, you’ll have significantly reduced or even eliminated allergies. When you’ve tried everything else, this may be exactly what you need to stop sneezing and enjoy your summer!