People who suffer from sinus, chest, and nasal allergies know that symptom-causing allergens can be found almost anywhere. That’s unfortunately true even in the safety of their own homes, as many allergy symptoms are made worse by particles commonly found in most households.
Read on to learn what’s causing your symptoms, and how to keep them under control.
Mites and Pollen and Dander, Oh My!
Allergy symptoms and degrees of sensitivity vary from person to person, but most stem from the same group of triggers:
- Dust mites: These microscopic bugs (gross!) are one of the most common indoor allergy triggers, and they thrive in warm and humid conditions.
- Pollen: It’s an obvious source of seasonal outdoor allergies, but can also trigger indoor allergies once it floats in through open doors and windows and gets tracked in on shoes.
- Pet dander: Cats, dogs, rodents and birds are cute, but the microscopic skin cells they shed can set off a whole host of allergy symptoms.
- Mold and mildew: These microscopic fungi thrive in dark, moist conditions, and can start growing on a damp surface in as little as 24-48 hours.
- Cigarette smoke: It’s not only damaging to the health of the smoker, it can irritate and worsen allergy symptoms in other household members.
Preventing Allergies Before They Start
Making a few adjustments to your home and your daily routines might make a big difference in your allergy symptoms. Consider these ideas:
- Use an air filter. A filter will trap allergens and pollutants before they circulate throughout your home. Look for a model with a HEPA filter for even more protection.
- Get a humidifier. Your throat and nasal passages need moist, humid air for optimal comfort – but also to more effectively do their job of trapping and expelling irritating allergens.
- Protect your bed. Unfortunately, even your bed isn’t a safe space when it comes to dust mites. Use allergen-proof pillowcases and mattress covers to reduce mites, and wash sheets weekly in hot water.
- Vacuum weekly (at least). Suck up dust and pollen before they become a problem – but make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter or you might just end up stirring particles into the air.
- Close the house. Keeping windows and doors closed helps keep pollen and other allergens out.
- Clean your pets. Regularly brushing and cleaning your indoor animals may help cut down on pet dander, and giving them a quick wipe-down when they come in from a visit outside can help keep pollen out.
- Mange personal hygiene. If you’ve been outdoors or playing with animals, your body, hair, and clothes might be harboring allergy-inducing particles. Grab a shower and a change of clothes to reduce your risk.
Managing the Symptoms of Indoor Allergies
Keeping allergens at bay is your first defense against symptoms, but you may find that you need more help. The gentlest remedy for allergy symptoms is to regularly use an over-the-counter (OTC) saline nasal spray. The salt-water spray can help clear your nasal passages of mucus, allergens, and other debris before they trigger a reaction.
Symptoms can also be helped by OTC medications like antihistamines, though you may want to choose one that doesn’t cause drowsiness. For more severe symptoms, visit a BetterMed location near you or consult your doctor about the possibility of starting a prescription drug to manage your allergies year-round.