Summer is in full swing! The sun is shining, the kids are home, the pool is cold, the pollen is thick, and lawn mowers are clouding the air with tiny grass particles. While many people are out swimming, playing, and reaping the benefits of longer, warmer days, some of us are sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and squinting through itchy, watery eyes. Yes, summer allergens can be a pain!
For those suffering from allergies, summer is more than a time for fun in the sun, it’s a time to stock up on tissues, allergy medicine, nasal sprays, and for hiding from the outside world when it gets unbearable.
But, sometimes spending more time inside is just as bad as being outside. Our homes are not hermetically sealed. We are not living in a contained biodome world. All of those allergens make their way into our homes, our carpets, our bedding, our clothes, and the ailments we thought we escaped find their way into our lungs, our noses, and our eyes.
How can we protect ourselves from these summer fun stealers without resorting to strapping a giant bubble to our heads?
Before you go to extreme measures, take a look around your home and implement some of these tricks and tips on protecting your home from allergens. By making your home an allergen-free zone, you’ll be able to enjoy the summer sun and backyard BBQs once again!
Clean Your Carpets
Here there be dragons… or in this case, allergens.
Your carpet is prime real estate for pollen, cut grass, and dust mites. Dust mites are tiny insects that love to burrow into carpets and other fabrics. Their residue gets in the air and causes problems. Walking on your carpet kicks up all of those allergens leading to stuffy noses and sneezing fits.
What can you do?
If you enjoy having carpets in your home, the solution is daily vacuuming, deep cleaning, and making it a rule that everyone remove their shoes before walking across your carpeted rooms. Carpets are nice, soft and warm, homey, but they can become a hazard if not taken care of properly.
Get Rid of Your Carpets
You’ll still need to care for your floors if you want to keep the tracked-in pollen and pollutants from irritating your allergies, but in this case it’s more sweeping and washing.
Change Your Filters
Your air conditioners can only do so much in keeping the outside out, while cooling the inside of your home. You’ll need to do your part to keep yourself safe from the dark side of summer.
Change your air conditioner filters, duct filters, and air filters in your home. Even better, have a professional come and do it for you.
Clean Your Vents
And we mean all the vents. If you’re taking care of your air conditioning vents, or having a professional do it for you, then you are one step ahead of the game. But what about your dryer vent?
Some people don’t think about it except as a fire hazard, but your dryer vent does much more than just collect dust; it helps get rid of allergens that have collected on your clothing and stayed even after a wash.
Keep your dryer vent cleaned and your clothes, and nose, will thank you.
Dust Your Home
All of that dust collected on every flat surface in your home is not just an effect of time passing, it’s the residue of dust mites, settled pollen, and dead skin cells. How gross is that?
When dust is kicked up, by poor dusting, walking, or cleaning, those allergens get in our noses and lungs causing us to cough and sneeze. It’s our body’s way of protecting itself. That’s why we have sneezing attacks when cleaning out the attic.
One of the biggest issues with dusting is that some people do it wrong. Yes, there is a wrong way to dust. It isn’t as simple as wiping a cloth along counters; that method only sends those allergens into the air, worsening the problem.
Instead, invest in quality dusting supplies. Dusters that collect and hold the dust rather than push it around are key. Also, get dusting spray. Not only do they leave your surfaces shiny and smelling nice, they help to keep dust from settling.
Not a fan of the strong chemical smell? Not a problem! Make your own dusting spray with this simple guide.
One of the sneakiest allergy season culprits is mold. This allergen is everywhere, but when it grows inside it becomes a problem. Breathing black mold particles over time can cause health problems, especially if you are allergic.
Mold grows in warm, damp, and humid areas. Bathrooms, shower stalls, and basements are the best places for mold to grow. Along with causing health issues, mold can damage the surfaces where it grows.
Care for your home and tackle the mold issue before it happens. Wipe down shower walls after a shower. Keep your home cool; no warmer than 70 degrees. Anything warmer creates prime conditions for mold and dust mites. Wipe up condensation from window sills. Use a dehumidifier in your basement.
Basically, don’t leave water in warm places.
Buy an Air Purifier
Some people think that this is the be all, end all of allergy care. But, in truth, this is more of a safety net than a cure. If you are doing all of the above in your home allergy maintenance, then you are doing all right. An air purifier will filter your home of the floating allergens. It can’t help with what has already settled, but it can’t hurt to have one.
Ban Smoking Inside
If you or friends smoke, stop. There are enough reasons out there to quit smoking, allergies among them. But if you are finding it hard to quit, or your friends assure you they are down to a few a day, then insist that smoking is banned from inside your home.
Cigarette smoke irritates asthma and allergies, along with discoloring your walls and stinking up your clothes and furniture.
Keep the smoking out of your home.
Get Your Pets Groomed
Got a fur baby? Those of us who have pets tend to treat them like family. The hugs, the kisses, the playing. But all of that contact can be hazardous to our allergies.
Doctors will suggest you get rid of your pets…
We will suggest you get your pets groomed. How often your pet sheds, the length of their fur, and how badly you react to them will determine how often your pet should be groomed by professionals.
On your own, you can do some dog and cat grooming yourself, keep them off the furniture as much as possible, keep them off your pillows at least, sweep and vacuum, and if you are really suffering, talk to your doctor about medicines that can help.
Grooming your pets is not only good for your allergies, it’s good for your pet! Avoid hairballs, matted fur, and itchy skin, and your pet will love you and shower you with extra kisses and cuddles. Unless your pet is a cat.
We hope these tips and tricks help with your summer allergies. Enjoy the fun and the sun, and come home to an allergy-free sanctuary!