We know we aren’t the only ones posting suggestions for how to steer clear of spring allergies right now—just look around you and you’ll see why.
But because of what we do for a living, we offer some alternative, very effective suggestions to simply avoiding going out on hot, dry, and windy days.
It’s not just pollen that aggravates your immune system with the seasonal change. Other allergens are also found indoors, and getting rid of them helps decrease the severity of your reactions to the springtime outdoor triggers.
Thus, we think it’s an especially opportune moment to share seven of our favorite tips for how to repel or eliminate common indoor allergens—naturally.
Tip 1: Clear out the clutter
Guess where dust, pollen, and dirt like to collect? If you guessed “anyplace with existing clutter” you already know this first step well! The less clutter your home contains, the less likely you will be to be unknowingly harboring dust colonies that get stirred up whenever you open a closet or cabinet.
Why is this essential?
Dust and pollen won’t be the only thing collecting in those corners and crevices. Dust mites, pet dander, skin flakes, mould spores, dirt, insect parts, and other allergens will also begin to build up.
Clutter can be especially problematic when you are also trying to control pests, who will instinctively seek out dark, enclosed spaces in which to hide.
Tip 2: Change to HEPA-rated air filters and replace them every 30 days
Angie’s List reports that a dirt and debris buildup of just one-sixteenth of an inch can decrease air conditioner and furnace airflow efficiency by up to 20 percent.
This makes not changing the air filter an expensive chore to neglect!
But simply changing the air filter is often not sufficient to guard against the spring allergen onslaught. For serious protection, what you need is a high-efficiency particulate air filter, or HEPA filter for short. HEPA filters can filter out 99.97 percent of all airborne toxins as small as 0.3 microns (1/100th the size of a single human hair).
Tip 3: Have those air ducts vacuumed out
This is an especially crucial help if someone in your family suffers from asthma. The average Canadian home has never had a professional air duct cleaning service, which in some cases can mean the dust present inside the air ducts dates back to when the home was first built!
As we mentioned in the previous tip, just one-sixteenth of an inch of dirt buildup can hinder airflow efficiency, adding wear and tear to your HVAC system and expense to your monthly energy bill.
But it can do more damage than just to your budget.
For serious allergy suffers and those who have asthma, there is no substitute for the complete indoor air quality reset a professional air duct cleaning service provides. In one day, every speck of that built-up debris is removed, leaving your indoor air supply clean, pure, and fresh.
Tip 4: Change your clothing, socks, and shoes when you come in from outdoors
This tip tends to be one of our customers’ favorites. After all, who doesn’t love that time in the day when you get to take off your work, school, or errand-running clothes and slip into some comfy sweats and slippers?
As it turns out, you get more than just comfort when you change your attire from head to toe after coming indoors.
Containing the clothes in the hamper until they’re ready to be washed, you also prevent all the allergy-causing pollen, mould spores, and other toxins that have been hitching a ride in from spreading.
Tip 5: Know when to ventilate and when to keep those windows closed
Did you know that pollen spore counts in the outdoor air tend to be highest near dawn and again between 10am and 3pm? This is exacerbated when the weather is windy, as it often is during the spring season.
During these hours or on windy days, it is best to leave your windows closed and find other ways to ventilate and circulate your indoor air, such as by using a heat recovery ventilator system or by investing in an air purifier.
Tip 6: Keep your indoor air humidity balanced
Healthy Living: Canada recommends keeping the humidity in your home or workplace between 30 and 50 percent.
Typically, the bathroom is the most humid room in the home, especially right after you have taken a bath or shower. But when the weather outside gets particularly humid, such as during damp or rainy weather, it can be very difficult to keep that humidity from seeping inside and raising your indoor humidity levels too.
Mould and mildew spores love humidity. When humidity levels in your home start to climb above 50 percent, they will grow even faster.
But too-low humidity is not ideal either. When humidity drops below the 30 percent mark, your respiratory passages will dry out, increasing the risk that pollen, mould spores, and other allergens will not be “caught at the door” by your moist nasal passages, but will travel all the way down your respiratory passages and into your body, where your immune system will begin producing histamines to fight the allergens and you will begin feeling sick.
Tip 7: Cover your mattress and pillows with allergy covers
Dust mites are another cause of some of the most severe allergy symptoms. Dust mites can live year-round, most notably in your mattress and pillows.
Dust mites feed on dead skin flakes from people and pets, and they can reproduce very rapidly. By encasing your mattress and pillows in allergy protection covers, the dust mites won’t be able to feed or reproduce, and you will sleep better at night.