Welcoming spring means a lot of things: new stands of vibrantly green grass, tender buds on all the trees, the return of singing song birds, but it also means it’s time for spring allergy season.
If you’re an allergy sufferer, you know the seasonal ritual of antihistamines, nasal sprays, nasal rinses and constant checks of the pollen count before you can step foot outside. Spring doesn’t have to be a mixed blessing though — there are plenty of easy ways to reduce symptoms without sacrificing those early season sun rays.
- Resist opening the windows. One of the very best things about spring can be throwing the windows open and smelling the fresh air — but resist the urge this year. Instead, use your HVAC system to re-circulate the air in your home. When you run your home’s air through clean filters, you can trap allergens like pollen, dust and mold spores inside. Make sure you keep the filters clean by checking them weekly. If it’s not quite warm enough for the air conditioner, use the system fan by itself to keep air circulating.
- Monitor the indoor humidity level. A humidity gauge can help you keep an eye on conditions that are favorable for mold spore growth. Indoor humidity of less than 60 percent will inhibit spores, but even lower — around 50 percent — is even better. If you have a basement, consider installing a permanent dehumidifier to keep conditions uncomfortable for mold all year long. Rooms with poor circulation may also benefit from a dehumidifier. In short, the drier the indoor air, the fewer mold spores that can survive to irritate your allergies.
- Reduce allergen tracking. Believe it or not, a lot of allergens and dirt come in from the outdoors on your shoes. To reduce the amount of dirt, pollen, mold and dust mites that are hitchhiking their way into your life, start leaving your shoes at the door or install a pair of large doormats at each entry to your home. Place one inside the door and one outside of it and insist that everyone use them religiously. When less pollen and dirt comes in, there’s less to work its way into your sinuses, plus you’ll seriously reduce the amount of sweeping and dusting necessary — double win!
This allergy season, you can reduce the pain that pollen, dust mites and mold spores can bring by changing your approach to your environment. With fewer allergens circulating through your home, you might even be able to put away your traditional weapons and breathe free for the first time in years.