By guest author Dorothy Wheaton
Preparing your home for allergy season can be a disappointing and potentially dangerous challenge. After all, cleaning a house is likely to put you in contact with the same allergens that trigger responses in your immune system. The sad reality is that, despite this challenge, cleaning your home is a necessity that won’t wait for your allergies to clear up. So, to help you deal with this problem, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best tips to make your home allergy proof.
These tips will allow you to stay protected from allergies and a regular practice would soon become a habit and then a household chore ritual.
Tip #1: Covering the Basics
Before we can go into the tips for proper house care, it’s important to take a step back and prepare yourself for the onslaught of allergens with these tips:
- Start with purchasing a durable dust mask from a hardware store. If you are to work with strong cleaning agents, purchase a vapor mask.
- Always use hot water to wash clothes that you used for cleaning. This will help kill any lingering dust mites.
- Wear plastic gloves on hands and rubber/ plastic knee length boots.
- Use a damp rag to trap any dust mites that might escape your cleaning.
- Use a vacuum with a High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (HEPA) filter.
- Take a shower after you’ve finished cleaning.
For particularly troublesome areas, don’t be afraid to ask others for help. Get in touch with local professional cleaning companies that offer their services at reasonable rates. Since they’re trained and not as prone to allergic outbreaks as you, there’s no harm in asking them to take care of the nastiest surprises.
Tip #2: Dealing with the Bedroom
The bedroom is that place in house that needs cleaning too even when you regularly change your bed linens and dust-off all the furniture. In addition to doing your daily cleaning routine, practice the following before and during the allergy season.
- Wipe the bed frame down with a damp rag, making sure to wipe over any areas that are visibly covered in dust.
- Use zippered allergen-proof mite covers to prevent the mattress from coming into contact with the allergen-spreading monstrosities.
- Wash all linens at least once a week. As always, be sure to use hot water to effectively stamp out any lingering mites.
- Like the mattress, don’t be afraid to use allergen covers for pillows as well.
- Avoid the use of fluffy accessories, like accent pillows or flowing bed skirts.
- Remove any unnecessary carpeting from the room and replace it with tiling or hardwood flooring.
- Instead of blinds or heavy curtains, make the switch to window shades.
- Keep any pets away from the bedroom at night. They have a habit of bringing unwelcome guests in with them.
Tip #3: Taking Care of the Children’s Rooms
Children are most susceptible to allergies and reactions. So, educate them to practice proper hygiene like using hand sanitizers outside the house and avoid sharing food with others.
- Use allergen-free beds and casings for their mattresses and pillows.
- Wash any stuffed animals that accompany the child to bed at least once a week.
- Remember that even if a child shows no signs of allergies, it is still possible for them to develop them in later years, especially if you or your partner is prone to allergies.
Aside from washing their stuffed animals, taking care of a child’s room is, thankfully, no less complicated than rigorously preparing your own bedroom for allergy season.
Tip #4: Looking After the Bathroom
- Wallpaper and paint are two efficient ways of preventing mold from growing in the walls.
- Tiles are effective in cutting back on maintenance from tubs and sinks.
- Wash shower curtains frequently with an antifungal agent.
- Be sure to clean any toothbrush containers or other commonly neglected areas of the bathroom.
- Open windows during or after showering to reduce the amount of moisture in the room.
- Use hot water to regularly clean bath towels.
Tip #5: Finishing in the Kitchen
Kitchen needs maximum attention since all food and groceries are stored or used there.
- Wipe up spills when they occur to prevent it from seeping underground and getting stuck in hard to reach places.
- Keep the kitchen as ventilated as possible to reduce the chance of mold popping up.
- Don’t put plants near any windowsills in the kitchen.
- Only purchase kitchen furniture that is easy to clean and maintain.
- Don’t forget food and then check back weeks later to find it rotting.
- Replace any carpeting in the kitchen with easier to clean tiling or hardwood floor.
- Occasionally wash out the garbage disposal and garbage can.
As rigorous as it may sound to prepare each room for allergy season, it’s a job that will ultimately pay off in the long run. After all, no one wants to spend their springtime shuttered in the house, sneezing and coughing as their eyes swell up. Luckily, these steps are simple enough that you’ll find they’re far more worth the effort than running the risk of getting stuck with allergy symptoms.
Dorothy Wheaton, PA-C, works with Careworks Health Clinics. Careworks runs walk-in clinics and after-hours clinics offering immediate medical treatment in addition to urgent care centers that provide treatment for acute illnesses and minor injuries.