How to Reduce Allergens in the Home & Keep Seasonal Allergies at Bay
NYC-based Internist Shirin Peters, M.D. shares her best advice!
If you suffer from allergies, you know how annoying and tenacious they can be. Especially if you suffer from seasonal allergies, which about 8% of people do, whenever Spring rolls around, you begin to feel helpless and might even start avoiding the outdoors. For many of us, allergies can follow us around and affect us even in our own homes. Studies show that 99% of people have allergens in their bedroom, and with spring allergies in full force, allergy sufferers should do everything they can to prevent allergens like pollen, dust, and other irritants from lingering in their homes. So how can you reduce allergens in your own home? Luckily we got the chance to speak with internist Shirin Peters, M.D., founder of Bethany Medical Clinic, New York, about ways to keep your home comfortable and allergies at bay. There are various natural remedies for allergies, but if you want to take the preventative approach, follow these tips!
How to Reduce Allergens in Your Home
Dr. Peters explains that "pollen counts and temperature changes are common triggers" for Seasonal allergies, but "dust, mold, and pet dander" can also play a role in allergy flare-ups. When you're outside, you obviously can't control these factors, however, you can control these and hopefully reduce the presence of these allergens in your own home by taking the following steps.
Wash clothing, towels, outdoor furniture covers, etc. after days with high pollen counts and rainy days. Keep windows closed on these days as well. Avoid tracking irritants into the home and trapping them in the carpet by removing shoes after spending time outside.
Reduce exposure to dust by vacuuming carpet and upholstery daily. Wash your bedding weekly in hot water then dry on the highest temperature setting and cover your pillows and mattress in air-tight allergen-resistant covers (seal dust away from you and put sheets and bedding on top) to eliminate dust mites. Use a HEPA filter in your home to remove dust and allergens from the air.
Be sure to use curtains made of plain cotton or synthetic fabrics so that they can be washed easily to remove any irritants they have collected.
Invest in a humidifier for the winter months since the dryness that we feel in our homes from running the heater and generally having less moisture in the air affects allergy symptoms by drying out our nasal membranes, which can even cause nosebleeds.
How to Properly Wash Your Fabrics to Eliminate Allergens
According to Dr. Peters, consistently laundering the fabrics in your home can make a huge difference in reducing allergens. But what's the proper way to go about washing the fabrics in your home? Dr. Peters suggests washing your clothes and other fabrics with a hypoallergenic-sensitive laundry detergent, such as Arm and Hammer’s Sensitive Skin Free & Clear, since most people who experience allergies tend to deal with sensitive skin.
How Often to Wash Your Pillowcase
One of the fabrics in your home that needs to be washed the most frequently to prevent allergies, is your pillowcase. According to Dr. Peters, "it’s important to wash your pillowcases regularly (at least once per week) on a hot setting to kill microbes and allergens caused by buildup of oils, dirt, and sweat". Another easy way to avoid irritation, Dr. Peters explains, is by showering and washing your face each night before bed.
Other Tips For Reducing Allergies in the Home
Aside from frequently washing the fabrics that could be harboring allergens, it's also important to address other factors in the home that could be contributing to your allergies as well.
For example, Dr. Peters explains that "If you have pets, bathing them frequently to control dander is vital, and washing their bedding and toys regularly to avoid further irritation is vital".
She also brings up how house plants can actually have a negative impact on allergies as well in some cases: "Many do suffer from allergies to house plants, which could be caused by inhaling airborne allergens, such as pollen or other indoor allergies. If symptoms persist, consult a healthcare professional and get allergy tested".
Dr. Peters's final tip for allergy sufferers is to "Get allergy skin testing with a primary care or allergy practice that offers testing – it’s painless, covered by insurance, and knowing your allergic triggers can allow you to reduce your exposures".
We Want to Hear From You
Do you suffer from allergies in the home? Try some of these tips and let us know what works best for you!