One of the strangest things about the development of allergies is that they can rear their ugly heads at any time during your life. One day you could be eating your favorite fruit, strawberries for example, and suddenly your mouth could start to itch. The next time you might break out in hives or go into anaphylactic shock. That’s a pretty extreme example, but you get the idea. You might never have seasonal allergies and then one sunny, spring day you’ll walk out the door and your eyes will start to itch and water. It could happen in your teens, your twenties, or even later in life; you just never know. But the absolute worst is when you find that you’re suffering from allergy symptoms even in the comfort of your own home. Your house is supposed to be your sanctuary from the world, and instead it’s causing you nothing but heartache! Luckily there are myriad ways to reduce the allergens in your interior spaces. Here are a few to try.
- Get tested. If you have not gone to see an allergy specialist for a scratch test, it’s a good idea. You can’t hope to address your allergy symptoms in any kind of comprehensive manner until you know what’s setting you off. Once you are aware of the things that make you sneeze and wheeze, such as pollen, dust, dander, or other common allergens, you can begin to find ways to minimize them in your home environment through elimination or other strategies. Of course, you can also start getting the medications or therapies that will treat your immediate symptoms, but you probably don’t want to rely on them if you don’t have to, and making your home allergy-free can diminish that need.
- Energy audit. When interior air is escaping your home, there’s always a chance that exterior air is coming in, bringing dust, pollen, pollutants, and other airborne allergens with it. Most people get an energy audit to see where they can plug leaks, seal portals, and ultimately cut their energy costs. And this is a nice bonus for allergy sufferers. But the main idea is to get your windows, doors, vents, and ductwork properly sealed so that you can keep outdoor allergens where they belong.
- Green cleaners. Cleaning is an important part of reducing the allergens in your space – it is the best way to get rid of offending particles in the air. But you might not realize that your chemical cleaning solvents could be exacerbating your problem. In fact, studies have shown that these chemical cocktails could be a major contributing factor in the onset of adult asthma and allergy symptoms. So switch to toxin-free, green cleaners as a healthy alternative.
- HEPA filters. These amazing filters are specially designed to trap and lock allergens that are floating around in your interior air. And they come in many forms. You might purchase a vacuum that comes complete with a HEPA filtration system or even put these specialized filters in your furnace.
- Whole house air purification. If your allergies are driving you nuts year-round, it may be time to consider a whole house air purification system that turns your central air into a breath of fresh air in a very literal way. Of course you can install mobile air purifiers in every room at less expense, and you might even look for high efficiency heat pumps that operate without using ductwork (cutting down on the dust and other allergens blowing into your home). But the whole house system is an overarching approach to combatting allergens in your structure, and that could be just what you need to live comfortably in your home again.