Spring is in the air, and pollen, mold spores and dust mites are sure to follow. If you suffer from spring allergies, there’s no need to let sniffling and sneezing ruin the season. Follow these simple tips to allergy-proof your home this spring.
- Use a humidifier to control the humidity in your house. High humidity encourages mold, but dry air makes it easy for dust and pollen to get stirred up. A humidity level around 50 percent is ideal.
- Use HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters in your air conditioner, and change them whenever they get dirty. Filters typically need to be changed about once every three months.
- Use your windows to your advantage. You can open windows in the morning and evening for fresh air, but keep them closed during the hours when pollen counts are highest – usually between about 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
- Change your outer garments when you reenter your house to avoid bringing pollen, mold spores and other outdoor allergens inside.
- Regularly clean your kitchen and bathroom to keep mold from growing. Check inside cabinets for leaky plumbing, and scrub away mold that appears on pipes and fixtures.
- Run your bathroom vent fan for 20 minutes after showering to rid your house of excess moisture. Make sure the fan is routed outdoors.
- Eliminate clutter. Old clothes, stacks of magazines, knickknacks and other unused items provide a perfect hiding place for a variety of allergens.
- Vacuum carpets and furniture weekly, and consider investing in a vacuum cleaner with a small-particle or HEPA filter.
- Get rid of dust magnets like thick carpeting, heavy drapes and upholstered furniture. These items can harbor an enormous amount of dust and other particles. Venetian blinds, leather or vinyl upholstery and floors made of hardwood, tile or linoleum are much easier to clean and less friendly to allergens.
- If you have pets, give them a bath before you bring them indoors; otherwise, they’re probably bringing pollen and other allergens in with them. If you have pet allergies, try to keep pets out of your bedroom.
- Choose low-allergy plants for your yard. Flowers like hosta, impatiens, viola and scabiosa are low-allergy, as are trees like cherry, dogwood and magnolia.
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