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25 Tips to Allergen-Proof Your Home

Spring is here, and so’s the time for seasonal allergies. As the flowers bloom and release pollen into the atmosphere, millions of people across the world begin their annual ritual of sniffling and sneezing. There may be no magical cure for these allergies, but you can keep them at bay by allergen-proofing your home. Here’s how.

1. Establish what causes your allergies, and work your way around the house to eliminating those specific allergens.

2. Lay down two door mats at each entryway—one outside, one inside—to keep outdoor irritants from finding their way into your home. The Indian habit of having guests remove their shoes isn’t a bad idea!

3. Keep windows closed when pollen counts are highest – in the early morning hours, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and in windy conditions.

4. Using fans may stir up dust – something that those allergic to dust should keep in mind.

5. Pollen and mould spores settle on clothing, so make sure you remove your outer garments when you come in and take a shower.

6. Clean up clutter. The lesser the stuff in your house, the more difficult it is for allergens to hang out. Limit knickknacks, magazines, and other accessories that serve any purpose.

7. Keep all rooms in your home – yes, even the bathrooms and kitchen – clean and dry. Check and ensure that water doesn’t pool anywhere; and keep all work surfaces dry.

8. If you have pets (better not to if you have allergies or asthma), keep them out of the bedroom. Bathe them regularly, and banish them from upholstered furniture.

9. Wall-to-wall carpeting and huge carpets are dust traps. Get rid of them this season. If you’re looking for a change, replace with hardwood or other impervious flooring.

10. Cover mattresses, box springs, and pillows with plastic cases or special allergen-proof fabric covers. Avoid down pillows or comforters.

11. If you are prone to many allergies, it may be a good idea to avoid upholstered furniture, which can trap allergens; and opt for materials that can be wiped clean (wood, plastic, leather, or vinyl).

12. Blinds or shades trap fewer allergens than fabric window treatments, be it curtains or valances. If you must have fabric, go for the machine-washable kind.

13. Switch to a vacuum that has a HEPA filter, which is specially made to trap particles as tiny as 0.3 microns (meaning most allergens).

14. Remove dust by vacuuming upholstery and curtains once a week with the brush attachment. Wear a mask and gloves when cleaning and vacuuming.


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15. If you must have indoor plants, keep them in the living room and hallways. Avoid them in the bedroom. Mould can grow in plant soil; the accumulated water can house mosquitoes.

16. Walk around the house, keeping an eye out for any leaks or seepage. Fix these – indoors or outdoors – immediately.

17. Use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom.

18. Opt for dehumidifiers or air conditioners in basements and other areas where mould tends to grow, especially in hot humid climates. Dehumidifiers and humidifiers must be cleaned every week.

19. Switch to HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters in the air-conditioning system. Get your ACs serviced every three months.

20. Don’t leave wet clothes in the washing machine. Mould can quickly grow on them, and you won’t even know.

21. There are more than 100,000 species of mould on the planet, and one of their favorite places is the bathroom. Clean it regularly, ensuring that you dry off all surfaces that collect standing water. Ventilate regularly; if there’s no fresh air, install an exhaust fan.

22. Regularly wash shower curtains and bathroom tiles with products that target mould.

23. The tray under the refrigerator is a mould magnet. Get things under control by cleaning it with a bleach solution. Adding some salt to the drip tray helps reduce the growth of mould and bacteria.

24. Make smart selections for the landscape. Remember that the yellow, sticky pollen that bees carry from plant to plant rarely causes allergic reactions. It’s the fine lightweight particles that can be blown about by wind that trigger allergies. Select low-allergy flowers like impatiens, hosta, astilbe, scabiosa, columbine and viola.

25. Eat right. Research has found that powerful chemicals called antioxidants—found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, green tea, and other foods and beverages—help battle inflammation inside your body, a critical factor in controlling allergies.

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