Home allergies lurk in dark corners. Haunt your sacred spaces. Occupy your walls and hide in your beds. Barely visible to the human eye, they pack a lethal arsenal known to make a grown man cry.
And, as cool breezes begin defusing the summer’s hot temperatures, outdoor season allergies send nearly 50 million victims indoors. Unknowingly, putting themselves at an even greater risk for sneezing, wheezing and coughing attacks from indoor allergies.
Good news? Almost all common home allergies are easily eliminated without needing to go Rambo on your kitchen walls. So, put down that sledge hammer. From cleaning to choosing the right equipment, here are a few important tips to get these pests packing.
Know Before They Grow
Dust mites and their waste, animal allergens, mold spores and cockroach particles are the main culprits behind indoor allergens. Barely visible, they are inhaled through the nose and lungs, contact the eyes and cause allergic reactions.
Research shows Americans spend an average of 90 percent of their lives indoors. On average, indoor pollution levels are 2 to 100 times stronger than outdoor. Due to year-round exposure, homes serve as a catalyst for chronic illnesses, including long-term asthma.
Studies do show the majority of these are known to thrive better during specific months. Knowing what to look out for could be a valuable resource for narrowing down and eliminating the culprit(s).
For example, dust mite populations tend to peak in July and August, and their allergen levels stay high through December. Mold levels tend to peak during the summer months (minus tropical areas). Cockroaches have a seasonal pattern, peaking in the late summer.
Of course, being aware of when to strike won’t completely kick home allergies to the curb. The greatest tactic is to “know thy enemy”— that is, subtle yet efficient tactics to conquer and eliminate.
Make a Clean Break
Even if you don’t model your décor after your former fraternity house days, doesn’t make you exempt. In reality, any form of clutter serves as an “open vacancy” sign for indoor allergens. A stack of magazines in the bathroom are ideal digs for a mouse. Or, an overflowing trashcan is the perfect setup for a female cockroach to hatch her 300-plus offspring.
Often, airborne allergens are ignored until the grime or dirt is visible to the human eye. It’s important to always remember to clean the areas of the home that would harbor these allergens. This should be accomplished weekly versus blown off until becoming an unbearable eye sore. Don’t wait until your mantel contains more debris than the urn that sits on top of it. If it hasn’t been dusted in a few weeks it has attracted unwanted home allergens. Also, make sure to clean the glorified dust rag after use every time.
Remember to recycle old newspapers, magazines, cans, and grocery bags on a weekly basis. Try to keep bins, especially from the kitchen, outside. Speaking of kitchen, especially for those with children, make sure the floor is swept regularly to eliminate crumbs.
The dander shed by your furry companion has the potential to cause symptoms in susceptible people. Experts recommend spending 30 minutes or more around your pet before putting them in the dog house.
Make sure to vacuum carpeted rooms and areas with rugs within your home. These serve as ideal locales for dust mites and pet dander. Sucking up these allergens with a high-efficiency vacuum with a filter to better trap these particles is ideal. Better yet, why not just get to ripping up that old shag carpet once and for all?
Keep it Fresh and Clear
Indoor mold tends to grow in damp, dark environments making a bathroom or basement its ideal breeding ground. Don’t skimp on the bleach, invest in a humidifier and consider investing in flooring, such as tile, that dries easily.
The cooler temperatures are a tempting time to substitute central air conditioning for an open window. Fresh air is great but make sure it doesn’t bring outdoor pollen along with it. Check the local allergy forecast for the count and peak times for pollen. Also, make sure to rake the yard and dispose of any wet leaves that end up in the house.
Make sure to clean out the ducts of your heating system before jack frost comes knocking at your door. Most forced-air systems tend to blow dust particles into the air. As they dry out over time, even more of the particles become airborne.
These tips and tricks are not a cure-all for allergy sufferers. If symptoms remain unbearable, it is always important to seek medical treatment. A common treatment is allergy shots which can be effective when dealing with indoor allergies.
It takes time to discover triggers but the results can be worth it. Knowing your triggers and following these basic guidelines is the key to managing—and potentially preventing—both day and night symptoms. With that said, we would love to hear from you! If you have any tips, tricks and/or successful solutions to add, feel free to comment below!