Allergy-Proof Your Home
Sitting in your living room shouldn't give you hives. Relaxing in your bathtub shouldn't make you sneeze. And cooking dinner shouldn't make your eyes and nose itch. If you find yourself in any of these situations, you may be allergic to your home.
According to the American Academy of Family Doctors, allergies are overreactions to things that don't cause problems for most people, and these things are known as allergens. Common allergy symptoms include sneezing, coughing, runny or itchy nose, watery or itchy eyes, sinus pressure, and hives.
Three Common Culprits
Because everyone's allergies are different, it's important to pinpoint your triggers. In addition, be sure to talk with your doctor so he or she can recommend treatment or lifestyle changes that can help you control your symptoms.
Here are a few of the most common allergens found in homes—and how to get rid of them.
Mold is found in warm, dark, and damp places, such as basements, showers, or on houseplants. To prevent mold from growing, clean these areas frequently, and keep the air circulating. Also remember to check your houseplants. If mold seems to have found a home in your geranium, switch to artificial plants or ones that require little water. If your mold problem persists, or is severe, use a dehumidifier.
Dust and dust mites can be found almost anywhere, especially in bedding. So be sure to wash your sheets and pillowcases at least once a week with very hot water. Vacuum your carpets frequently, or replace them with smooth floor tiles, linoleum, or hardwood. Clean surfaces where dust gathers with wet towels or damp rags that trap dust rather than spreading it. In addition, window coverings, like blinds, collect dust, so consider washable or removable options. If the problem persists, use an air filter.
The simplest way to prevent pet dander is to remove the animal, but it may be the most difficult option. Though some breeds may be labeled as "allergy free," all animals release some degree of pet dander. If you can't part with your pets, be sure to bathe them frequently, and keep them out of your bedroom. Allergies may act up when you are sleeping, and having your pet in your bedroom won't help. You should also consult your doctor and your pet's veterinarian about possible treatments.
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