Allergy-Proof Your Home in 7 Steps

Spring allergies may not be devastating, but they certainly are a nuisance. If you suffer, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans are affected by spring allergies every year. There are many players in the environmental allergy game (dust, mold, etc.), but the main culprit is pollen. It’s all because plants want to reproduce. Trees, weeds, and other plants release tiny grains of pollen into the air in spring to fertilize themselves.

When those grains of pollen enter the nose of someone who suffers from allergies, their body assumes they are attacking it, and responds by releasing a counter-attack of antibodies. That, in turn, dumps histamines into the blood, which triggers the sniffling, sneezing, and general wheezing so often recognized as allergy symptoms. So, to fight spring allergies, you must fight those pesky, teensy, weensy grains of pollen.

If you’re allergic to dust and mold spores as well, you’re fighting an even bigger battle, as those particles are everywhere -- not only outside, but inside your home, and every other building you enter. This spring, protect your health and cut down your expenditures on over-the-counter allergy medicine by allergy-proofing your home. Here are several ideas any homeowner can implement to improve indoor air quality and bid allergies adieu.

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  1. Act Now to Improve Your Air


    Allergy sufferers know that a day in the park can trigger severe sniffling. But retreating indoors to clear up a stuffy nose or watery eyes won't work if you don't address the air quality inside your home. Whether it's pollen, mold, or dust that sets off your sneezes, there are actions you can take to allergy-proof your home.

  2. Replace Those Filters


    Furnace and air conditioner filters are your first lines of defense against indoor pollen, mold, and dust. Clean the vents and replace filters monthly to trap pollutants and keep them from being recycled throughout the home.

  3. Keep It Clean


    Regular cleaning goes a long way toward creating an allergy-free home. Vacuum, damp mop, and dust once a week to eliminate as much as 90 percent of your home's dust. If your vacuum cleaner isn't equipped with a HEPA filter, consider upgrading; these filters trap microscopic particles of dirt and dust that harbor dust mites. 

    Related:  15 Remarkably Easy Ways to Create a Dust-Free Home

  4. Dry Out the Basement


    Basements tend to trap moisture, leading to musty odors, mold, and mildew. Combat a wet basement by installing a dehumidifier. You can buy a small unit designed for a single room, or even install a whole-house dehumidifier. Either way, a dehumidifier will remove excess moisture from the air and help prevent mold buildup from becoming a problem.

    Related:  7 Ways to Prevent Basement Flooding This Spring

  5. Clear the Air


    Another great way to breathe easier is to install an air purifier. Available in tabletop sizes or as whole-home solutions, these machines are designed to circulate air, capturing dust and other impurities in the process and leaving indoor air cleaner. To keep your air purifier operating at full strength, change out disposable filters and wash reusable filters when needed.

    Related:  10 Houseplants to Improve Indoor Air Quality

  6. Eliminate Underbed Storage


    Most allergy sufferers know to wash linens weekly to eliminate symptoms—but do you remember to clean under the bed as well? Too often overlooked, that space under your bed can gather a lot of dust, leading to coughing or sneezing. Pass a vacuum under the bed frequently and eliminate storage below for easier cleaning.

    Related:  The Dirty Dozen—12 Places You Probably Never Clean But Definitely Should

  7. When in Doubt, Redecorate!


    Carpet captures and holds pounds of dirt, dust, and even mold, which can worsen allergy symptoms. Tear out old carpeting and replace it with hardwood, tile, or vinyl flooring to create a dust-free home. Likewise, swap out heavy drapes for lighter, easy-to-clean curtains.

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