How to Keep Home Free of Allergens
When your body reacts to something that generally doesn’t bother others, it could be because of an allergy. For example, you may start sneezing or feeling itchy, your skin may turn red and swollen, your eyes may water, or your stomach could get upset.
Some allergies are mild and a mere nuisance, while others are life-threatening, such as anaphylactic shock.
You can develop them at any stage in your life, even to something you weren’t previously allergic to. Unfortunately, these reactions are more common than we know. Over the last few decades, allergies have increased steadily, possibly due to the over-exposure to chemicals and pollutants.
The home is an area that contains a plethora of allergens. If you’re allergy-prone, it’s important to ensure that you and your family stay safe and healthy, and the best way to do this is to keep your home allergen-free.
What Are Allergies and Allergens?
Some people tend to develop allergic reactions and diseases. This is because they react to substances that are harmless to others. The condition is caused by the presence of allergens in certain substances, both natural and synthetic.
An allergic reaction is triggered by contact with an allergen.
- It is a natural anti-body response to a foreign substance such as pollen or other allergens.
- The immune system sees it when it enters your body as a threat.
- There is an immediate response from the mast cells in your body, which produce histamine, a natural protector.
- It makes your body react immediately to throw out the perceived threat, though pollen (or other allergens) by itself is a harmless substance.
- Histamine makes you sneeze, itch, swell up, or water your eyes to eliminate the threat. Other reactions include a fluffy nose, coughing, skin rash, or respiratory problems.
- This overreaction has to be controlled with anti-histamines.
Generally, allergies run in families. So if you have a family member who is allergic to dust, pollen, animal hair, chemicals, food, or beverages, it’s likely that the allergy gets passed on to their children. You may be allergic to multiple factors in the environment. It is important to diagnose your unique allergy triggers and ensure you don’t come into contact with them.
You can avoid contact, allergen-proof your home, and work with a professional allergist to help deal with the symptoms in an emergency. In severe cases, you may need immunotherapy and other medications.
Keeping Your Home Allergen Free
Surveys show that nearly 50 million Americans experience allergy symptoms of one kind or another. Most allergies crop up during summer. That’s why it’s known as “Allergy Season.” So you may think it’s a good idea to avoid spending time outdoors to reduce your pollen exposure.
You may not know that your home is a great breeding place for allergens too. Pet dander, dust mites, indoor plants, mold, and dust, are the secret culprits lurking indoors.
Once you have identified your allergy triggers, you can do a room-by-room inspection to zero in on possible areas where allergens can lurk.
Entry ways and Lobbies: We carry allergens indoors from outside on our clothes and shoes. Having a place for your outdoor clothes, coats, hats, umbrellas, and shoes is important. This prevents the spread of allergens throughout the home.
Tip: Make a no-shoes rule for the home if you suffer from pollen or dust allergies. Ensure that all shoes and coats are removed before entering the inner regions of the house.
Carpets and Floors: They are notorious for harboring insects, dirt, dust, grime, grease, fungi, pet hair, and dander. You could be allergic to the carpet fabric itself. Hardwood floors are traps for mites, insects, and fungi.
Tip: Vacuum your carpet regularly with a good, fine-particle filter. It is important to get your rugs, upholstery, carpets, and curtains cleaned professionally. Clean hardwood floors by sweeping, mopping, and ensuring they’re thoroughly dry afterward.
Furniture: Sofas, chairs, fabric covered, or wooden furniture is other areas where allergens can rest. Regular dusting and vacuuming help to keep them free of allergens. Pay attention to inaccessible corners, fans, windows, and door frames.
Tip: Use a duster that traps dust instead of just shifting it to another place.
Bedrooms, Bathrooms, and Kitchens are the ideal places for mold and fungi to breed. The areas for allergens to hide include moisture and dampness in the bathroom and an abundance of fabrics in the bedroom. Dust mites feed on human skin, dander and hair, and inhaling their droppings triggers allergic reactions. Kitchens are places where roaches may breed. Dust and grime collect in inaccessible or rarely used spaces.
Tip: Keep your bathrooms dry and free of mold. Vacuum and dust your bedroom, and change the sheets and pillow covers regularly. Wash curtains and vacuum window blinds, and if you have carpets and other furniture in the room, deep clean at least once a month. Use a professional pest control service to get rid of insect infestations.
Cleaning Products: You may be allergic to strong chemical scents or high chemical levels in your cleaning products. Fragrance and strong fumes can trigger allergic reactions.
Tip: Use “green” cleaning products, and look for fragrance-free options. If you’re getting your home professionally cleaned, ensure that the company uses environmentally friendly, non-scented cleaning agents.
Share Chores: If you’re allergic to dust, allocate the job to someone who isn’t. You can work it out between family members so that you take on chores that don’t trigger your allergies.
Tip: If you can’t find anyone to take over dusting and vacuuming, make sure you wear a mask and cover your hair with a cap while you dust or vacuum.
Make Lifestyle Changes: If you’ve zeroed in accurately on your allergy triggers, harden your heart and make the necessary changes. Get rid of your carpets, books, heavy rugs, and curtains. Keep a designated area for pets and never allow them to sleep in your bed. If you travel a lot, don’t bring your bags, outdoor clothes, and shoes into the living and sleeping areas. Install air conditioning for a dust-free environment.
Tip: When painting the house, renovating, repairing, or refurbishing, it’s better to move to a hotel or motel nearby. Paint smells, dust, glue, and other chemicals can make your life miserable.
Watch What You Eat: If you’re gluten-allergic or allergic to nuts or seeds, ensure that every item of food or drink you bring into the house is free of these triggers. Ensure you take a thorough and detailed allergy test to diagnose your food allergies. There are plenty of new and effective treatments for these problems. An allergy specialist can help you with this.
Tip: Tell your family and friends about your condition so that they don’t inadvertently serve you food that contains your allergy triggers.
Allergies can be annoying, scary, inconvenient, stressful, and even life-threatening. So keep your home allergy proof and make sure that you follow your doctor’s orders consistently.