Are you congested all the time? Do you cough and sneeze as much as you blink and breathe? Are your eyes so watery people continually ask you if you are OK?
Congratulations! You are one of the countless people across the world who suffer from allergies – and we do mean suffer. At least with a cold, there is an end in sight. The virus or bacteria will run its course and you can return to the land of the living.
With allergies, depending on your environment, you may feel like you’ve become a real-life version of the “Walking Dead.”
But you don’t have to walk around in a hazmat suit to survive allergies. Here are a few less drastic measures you can take to protect yourself from the common allergy triggers like dust, mold, pollen and pet dander.
Protect your mattress
Use dust mite protection covers on your mattress, box spring and pillows. Even though you can’t see dust mites, they do trigger allergies and you will sleep easier knowing they aren’t joining you each night.
Your washing machine is your friend
Bedding, throw rugs, pillows and any other fabric item in your home is where your allergens like to hang out, including dust mites. Washing them weekly in hot water will reduce their numbers – dust mites are killed at 130 degrees or higher. Dry cleaning also works. Even better: Choose hardwood floors and blinds instead of carpeting and drapes.
Vacuum + HEPA
Vacuum at least weekly with a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter – High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance. A HEPA filter captures particles as small as .3 microns. For comparison, the diameter of a human hair averages about 75 microns. Dust mite droppings, the things that trigger allergies, are typically 10 microns or smaller. You should know, however, that no vacuum can get all the dust particles out of thick upholstery like couches or chairs.
Keep the outside out
Cool breezes on beautiful days sound lovely, but for allergy sufferers those breezes carry countless irritants, triggering their worst symptoms. Keep your windows closed and use an air conditioner with a HEPA filter.
Humidity contributes to mold. Get yourself a dehumidifier, keep the setting at less than 50 percent and clean it weekly. Take other steps, too: Don’t leave wet clothes in the washing machine or piled up in the bathroom. Clean your bathroom regularly and keep it well ventilated.
Check your clothes at the door
If you go outside, you can’t help but collect pollen and other allergens on your clothes and shoes. When you walk back into your house, they hitch a ride. Change your clothes before you enter, putting the old ones right in the wash. It wouldn’t hurt to take a shower yourself, either. As for your guests, consider asking them to remove their shoes or boots before entering.
Skip the clothesline and use a dryer
See clothing entry. You may enjoy the idea of hanging laundry on the line to take advantage of nature’s ready-made dryer and fresh scent, but pollen and other allergens carried on the wind love it too, landing on your favorite shirt or sheets and making themselves at home.
Delegate and disappear
If it’s practical, get someone else to clean your house and handle all the chores prone to trigger allergies. If it’s not, get yourself a mask to do the dirty work. No matter who is cleaning, it’s good to get out of the house for a few hours afterward to literally let the dust settle.
Protect your eyes
You can’t hide inside all the time – life will call you out eventually. Add some eyewear to your outerwear to protect your eyes from irritation. Whether you choose sunglasses, fashion frames with fake lenses or full-fledged goggles, they will all help prevent allergens from reaching your eyes.
Avoid smoky situations
Smoke can aggravate your allergies and increase your symptoms. Don’t smoke and avoid smoky situations. Sadly, that includes your friendly neighborhood bonfire or summer campfire. Feel bad about missing your friends? Invite them into your air conditioned and perfectly dehumidified home for gathering, instead. And don’t forget to kindly ask them to take off their shoes and coat first.
We hope these tips help you breathe a little easier!