5 habits that will help you control your seasonal allergies
When it comes to controlling seasonal allergies, there’s a myriad of ways to go about it; everything from over the counter meds for the symptoms to having hypoallergenic bedding. How seasonal allergies impact your day to day life is an important factor in choosing which method to help control them. Here are 5 habits that will help you control your seasonal allergies.
1. Invest in Some Air Purifiers With HEPA Filters
You’ve no doubt seen them at department stores, the little machines that look sort of like dehumidifiers or air conditioners. Air purifiers use filters to remove particulates from your household air, improving air quality dramatically.
Allergens, dust, and mold spores tend to float around in the air, causing irritation and very uncomfortable allergy symptoms like runny nose, itchy eyes, and sore throat. Investing in an air purifier with HEPA filters (specifically made to filter out fine particulates) can dramatically improve your home’s air quality, and thus alleviate your allergy symptoms.
The trick is to keep the filters changed. Maintaining the filters means the difference between finely filtered air and an air purifier that’s simply sucking electricity. Depending on the filter brand and air purifier model, you’ll need to change it every three months, or some even run as long as three to five years. Be sure to find a model that fits your house size and air quality needs.
2. Close Those Windows!
When Spring or Autumn rolls around, we all want to open those windows up and let the fresh air blow through. The cool crisp Autumn air can be calming, and the newly warmed air of Spring is uplifting and renewing. But during allergy season, the same breezes carry particulates into your home, contaminating the air and many fabrics with them.
Allergens can ride in on a light breeze, and make themselves at home in your clothes, bedding, (unless you’ve bought hypoallergenic sheets) and fabrics. Even after you close the window, those particles still exist somewhere, and get kicked up when you sweep or clean your fabrics. As badly as you want to feel that fresh breeze, if you don’t want to increase your allergy symptom intensity, close those windows!
3. Clean Regularly
This seems like an easy habit to remember, but often we forget about hard to reach places (or, more honestly, we ignore them). Pulling out your couches and furniture every couple of weeks and cleaning beneath and behind them prevents buildup of dust and particles, which can cause allergic reactions and make your seasonal allergies all the worse when that time of year rolls around. Check for mold while you’re cleaning as well, as mold spores can be be deadly if left unchecked.
If you find that you have an infestation of mold, call a professional. Contrary to popular belief, bleach is not an effective mold killer; in fact, since bleach is a water-based cleaner, it can actually help spread mold, as it requires moisture to grow. A simple monthly cleaning should be enough to keep particulate levels down in your home.
4. Avoid Being Outside After Rainstorms
Those Spring and Autumn rains can be wonderfully captivating, but the water disturbs plant spores and pollen, filling the air with all manner of irritants. Not to mention, the dampness creates ideal surfaces for the pollen to stick to (including your clothes).
Make a habit of staying indoors after a rainstorm (and keeping your windows closed) and you’ll find that you’re much less inclined to those irritating allergy symptoms. Sometimes it’s not possible to avoid going out after a rain storm, so alternatively you can plan ahead by taking allergy medication beforehand so that you may be able to avoid uncomfortable symptoms altogether.
5. Know Yourself and Your Allergies
Information is key to solving any problem. Knowing what you’re allergic to and when it affects you the most is the best tool for managing your seasonal allergies. If you’re allergic to pollen, make sure to close your windows and invest in some air filters. Find out if you’re allergic to dogs and/or cats (pet dander can make seasonal allergies worse), and research if your area has unusually high pollen counts. There are weather apps that also include pollen counts by day, so you can check one of these apps before going outside. Keep your doctor updated with any new symptoms so they can provide you with the right type of medication and advice. Figure out which over the counter allergy medications work best for you, and which ones aren’t as effective. Consider hypoallergenic fabrics as an alternative to regular bedding and pillowcases.
Allergies are not unmanageable; in fact, with modern medicine and technology, and a little effort on our part, most of us can successfully manage our allergies enough to not be miserable during allergy season.
Over the counter medications are readily available, and prescription medications are excellent alternatives for when the store bought brands just aren’t cutting it. Doing your research, knowing your allergens and how they operate can go a long way. HEPA filtration systems are affordable and abundant, you can find them at any large department or hardware store.
Always make sure to plan ahead via weather apps or pollen counts, so as to avoid contact when the pollen is at high points. Take allergy medication before going outside for the day.