55 per cent of Americans test positive to one of more allergens. While not all individuals who test positive have symptoms, allergic rhinitis – the classic allergic symptoms localized to the nose, throat, eyes, ears, and mouth – affects between 10 to 30 per cent of the population worldwide.
And, the average person spends about 90 per cent of their time indoors. Not surprisingly, the home and workplace are the two primary environments in which frequent and prolonged exposure to allergens occurs…
Environmental allergens are airborne particles that induce an inappropriate immune response once inhaled, and typically result in a sneezy and itchy nose and watery eyes. The most common environmental allergens are dust mites, mould, pet dander, and pollen from grass, ragweed, and trees.
Taking precautions to allergy-proof your home is an effective method that can reduce exposure and thus, allergic symptoms. While some tasks may be time-consuming and cost money, the pro of being symptom-free and feeling better outweighs any drawbacks.
The following steps can be taken to allergy-proof your home and help you feel your best in spite of your allergies:
- Use appropriate bedding and mattress covers. Allergy-proofing your mattress can be achieved by using special dust- and mite-proof mattress and pillow covers. Sheets should be washed once a week at high temperatures to kill dust mites and eggs.
- Address your pet’s sleeping patterns. Cuddling with a fluffy pet on the bed is a common practice of many pet owners. However, the dander, skin flakes, saliva, and urine of pets can act as allergens. Reducing exposure to these particles by disallowing pets on the bed and keeping their designated sleeping areas outside the bedroom can be help decrease allergy symptoms.
- Switch to allergy-friendly flooring. Carpet is a haven for unwanted guests. In fact, a rug can be up to 4,000 times dirtier than the toilet bowl based on bacteria count per square inch. Removing and replacing carpet with linoleum or hardwood floors can dramatically reduce the number of allergens present on the floor.
- Use a HEPA filter. A high-efficiency particulate arrestor (HEPA) filter is a type of mechanical air filter that traps harmful allergens in a fine mesh, removing airborne particles that can contribute to allergy symptoms. Adding a HEPA filter to your home is an effective method to allergy-proof the air.
- Choose washable curtains and blinds. Curtains made of plain cotton or synthetic fabric are typically washing machine-friendly. Since horizontal blinds collect dust, an allergy-proof alternative is using washable roller-type blinds.
- Strategize your air circulation. During pollen season, environmental allergens can easily enter the home when the windows are open. Keeping the windows closed and relying on air conditioning during allergy season can help reduce exacerbations.
- Ensure proper disposal of garbage. Using an insect-proof lid on your kitchen garbage can help keep pesky insects such as cockroaches, and thus their associated allergens, at bay.
- Don’t stress. Having allergies can be quite stressful, especially when they affect quality of life. And, being stressed can increase histamine levels, which also happens to be the chief hormone involved in allergies. If you are experiencing stress from your allergies, try infusing 100 per cent pure essential oils such as Aromaforce Lavender Essential Oil into your home for a calming effect on the body.