Sneezing, itchy eyes, a scratchy throat – if you’re no stranger to these common symptoms, you know how rough allergies can be. Thankfully, these symptoms typically only affect adults seasonally, mainly around springtime when pollen is more prevalent. However, if you turn indoors to seek refuge and your symptoms worsen, or seem to linger year-round, your home may actually be the culprit.
But don’t stake the for-sale sign up quite yet – home allergies are common. In fact, 84% of Americans report suffering from year-round, at-home allergies. And while a doctor’s visit is always recommended for an allergy test, and to rule out any other illnesses, there are some ways to combat the common culprits of home allergens (or keep them at bay, at the least). From dust mites and pet dander, to mold and insects, the House Hacks Tips team is here to help you identify and fight the cause of your flare ups so you can begin to feel better at home.
Why are My Allergies Worse at Home?
After spending a day in the office feeling great, you return home only to be greeted with onset allergy symptoms – what gives? In short, blame the air.
Many office buildings, storefronts, and restaurants have filtration systems in place, designed to filter out allergy-inducing particles and debris from the air. However, unless you’ve had a filtration system installed, most homes are left defenseless to whatever flows in from the outside air. While air cleaning devices can help, the best way to improve your home’s overall air quality is to fight off the allergen at the source.
Fight Off Flare-Up Offenders
The Culprit: Dust
When it comes to allergies, dust takes the cake for causing the most reactions amongst homeowners. From pollen and pet hair, to dust mites and dander, the dust in your home can contain a cocktail of year-round allergens that, when entering in your airways, irritates your lungs and causes your body to react.
Stay ahead of the dust build up (and allergy suffering) by running a duster through your home at least weekly, and be sure to vacuum corners, under furniture, and other hard-to-reach areas where dust is known to accumulate.
The Culprit: Mold
Depending on the type and amount of mold growing in your home, it can quickly turn from an irritant to a dangerous health issue. A mold allergy can cause coughing and itchiness, and is directly linked to asthma resulting in restricted breathing if exposed.
The key in keeping mold away is to ensure you’re not providing a hospitable spot for it to grow. This means keeping wet, humid areas to a minimum (like in the basement or bathroom), and investing in a dehumidifier to help regulate the air.
The Culprit: Outdoor Allergens
Seasonally speaking, it can be difficult or impossible to ward off all allergens from entering your home. Whenever you open a window, door, or filter air through your vents, you’re opening up your home to outdoor allergens.
While you can’t put your home in a bubble from outside air, you can be extra cautious during peak allergy season. Keep all windows closed, rinse your air conditioning filters monthly, and wipe down shoes and wash any clothing worn outdoors upon returning home. This will help ensure you’re keeping allergy-inducing particles to a minimum in the home.
Finally, regardless of the cause of your allergies, keeping a clean, clutter-free home is key in preventing allergy-bourne particles from accumulating. Keep bathrooms and kitchens dry and sanitized, vacuum and dust regularly, and if you are sensitive to allergens, be sure to wear a mask to avoid breathing in any particles as you’re cleaning.
By keeping up with these tasks as part of your weekly homeowner to-do list, you’ll be able to keep your allergy flare ups to a minimum and begin enjoying your time spent indoors again.