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How to Allergy-Proof Your Home

How to Allergy-Proof Your Home

About 81 million women, men, and children in the United States have seasonal allergies, otherwise known as hay fever. And many people with allergies have more than just hay fever. During an allergic reaction, your body goes into attack mode when you breathe in otherwise innocuous substances, such as pollen, dust mites, or pet dander. 

Standard advice for controlling seasonal allergies is to stay indoors when the pollen count is high. Unfortunately, unless you’ve taken preventive steps, the air inside your home or office could be almost as triggering to your allergies as pollen. 

Expert allergist Catherine Fuller, MD, helps alleviate your symptoms when allergies attack. At our office in West Los Angeles, California, she helps you identify and avoid all of your allergy triggers, both indoors and outdoors.

How can you allergy-proof your home so you stay sniffle-free indoors? The following guide can help.

Keep the air conditioning on

An air conditioner circulates the air in your home through filters, so potential allergens such as dust and dander from pets stay out of your rooms. When you use the AC, you also must keep your windows closed. That keeps the pollen and dust out so it doesn’t get trapped in furniture, carpets, or your clothes.

Change your AC filter once a month, and clean the exterior of your unit, too. Check for mold around the unit and your windows. Mop up any condensation so you don’t get mildew.

Ditch the carpet and minimize fabric

Carpet is notorious for harboring dust mites, pollen, and other allergens in your home. If you own your space, remove all carpeting whenever possible and replace it with wood, tile, or linoleum.

If you have curtains, make sure they’re washable. Launder them every so often to eliminate dust and other allergens they attract. If you have blinds, replace them with more easily cleaned roll-up shades.

Whenever possible, choose leather or vinyl furniture. It’s easier to clean dust and dander from hard surfaces; upholstered furniture retains dust and could trigger your allergies.

Both wool and feathers can trigger allergies. Switch to synthetic fabrics and fillers in your pillows and blankets. 

Vacuum and shampoo

Whether you have carpet or not, vacuum your home daily with an appliance that has a HEPA filter. Be sure to go over furniture, too. Always wear a mask when you vacuum or dust to avoid inhaling stirred-up dust or mold spores.

If you do have carpets or rugs, shampoo them regularly. If you have pets, you must clean more often and more rigorously than if you don’t.

Wash often

Be sure to wash your bedding in hot water at least once a week. Doing so kills any dust mites that have embedded themselves in your sheets and blankets. Also protect your mattresses and pillows with dust-mite proof covers.

When you come inside from being outdoors, take off your outer layers immediately and either leave them outside or wash them. You should also take a shower and wash your hair each night to remove pollen and other allergens.

Choose pets carefully

Pet dander can be a potent allergen. If you want a pet and don’t have one yet, choose reptiles or fish. If you love fur babies, find one that’s low-allergenic or hair free, such as:

However, don’t let your pets lick you. Saliva can also trigger allergies.

Use air purifiers and dehumidifiers

Air purifiers are a great adjunct to running the AC, because they remove even more allergens. Be sure to at least have an air purifier in your bedroom when you sleep so you can breathe easily all night. Point the air flow toward your bed to increase the amount of fresh air.

Dehumidifiers remove excess moisture from the air to reduce the chance of mold growing in your home. Change filters at least once a month.

Ventilate and mop

When moisture accumulates in your home, mold and mildew can grow. Always turn an exhaust fan on when you take a shower or bath.

Wipe up or mop any spills or condensation on walls or appliances. Make sure your stove is fitted with a ventilating hood so smoke doesn’t circulate throughout your home.

Allergy-proof yourself

Another way to minimize allergic reactions — indoors and out — is to undergo immunotherapy that shuts down your allergies for good. We test you for a full range of contact allergens, inhaled allergens, and food allergies.

Over the course of treatment, we expose you to minute, gradually increasing quantities of your allergens. Eventually, your body learns to tolerate the allergen so you can come into contact with it without triggering symptoms. 

If you’d like to begin immunotherapy or need help controlling your allergies, call Catherine Fuller, MD, today at 310-828-7978 or request an appointment online.

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