Guide to Combating Seasonal Allergies
Learn what causes allergy symptoms and how to be more comfortable year round.
Irritated airways, runny noses, itchy eyes, sneezing, wheezing, and coughs — airborne pollutants can trigger a whole host of unpleasant physical responses. For those who suffer from allergies and asthma, the symptoms can range from annoying nuisances to severe attacks.
Whether you have seasonal allergies, or suffer year round, there are a few things you can do to eliminate triggers and minimize your symptoms. We’ve put together this guide to explain some of the most common allergens and how to keep them at bay.
When airborne pollutants are breathed in, your body reacts by producing histamines to attack the invaders. Histamines cause the symptoms associated with an allergic reaction. Some allergens are more bothersome at certain times of the year. Pollen from trees, grass, and blooming plants is a common springtime and summer allergy trigger. In the fall, ragweed is the usual culprit. Allergy symptoms brought on by mold spores tend to be at their worst from fall into winter.
Many allergens that originate outdoors make their way into your home through open doors and windows, or by hitching a ride on your skin, hair, and clothing. Dust mites get their start indoors and can cause allergy symptoms year round. Dust mites feed on dead skin shed by people and pets. The waste produced by these microscopic insects can trigger allergic reactions including itchy eyes, coughs, and nasal congestion. For asthma sufferers, the symptoms can be severe enough to require emergency medical attention.
There are several things you can do to fight back against airborne pollutants. Here are some strategies for heading off allergies before they strike.
- Maintain the proper humidity level in your home. Check out our guide to learn more about the benefits of humidifiers and dehumidifiers.
- Regularly vacuum rugs, carpets, drapes, window blinds, and upholstered furniture with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter.
- Keep your furry pets clean by bathing them regularly to reduce dander and remove pollen from their fur.
- Shower and change your clothes after spending time outdoors to wash pollen from skin, hair, and fabrics.
- Change your furnace filter monthly and consider using a filter specifically designed to capture dust, pollen, and mold spores. .
- Make sure bathrooms are clean and well-ventilated to prevent mold formation.
Clear the Air
Even the most fastidious housekeepers can’t clean away all microscopic allergens. In fact, sweeping and dusting can actually throw these tiny pollutants back into the air. To reduce the allergens in your home and defend against the symptoms they cause, your best weapon is a high-quality air purifier. Here are some things to consider when shopping.
Air purifiers are categorized by the size of room they’ll be used in. To find a model that will suit your space, calculate the square footage of the room by multiplying the length times the width. There are even personal air purifiers to keep the air clean in your immediate space. Also consider how often the model changes the air in the room.
High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are made up of of fine fibers and certified to capture 99.9% of particles measuring 0.3 microns or more. They are effective for removing pollen, dust mites, pet dander and smoke particles from the air.
Charcoal and Activated Carbon filters are not designed to capture particles, but they can clear the air of odors, tobacco smoke, gases, cleaning fumes, and perfumes.
Some air purifiers come with a remote control so you can change the settings from anywhere in the room. The Rabbit Air MinusA2 series features ultra-quiet operation, an adjustable LED mood light with a range of colors, and a light sensor to that activates sleep mode when the room darkens.