Stop Sneezing! Reduce the Allergens in Your Home

A woman laying on a couch, under a blanket, with a pile of used tissues on her lap to which she is about to add.

Dust mites, pet dander, mold, pollen—most homes are filled with these nasty little buggers. If you have found yourself sneezing more often, or you are experiencing sinus infections, you may be sensitive to these allergens. The symptoms of allergic rhinitis include congestion, sneezing, and a runny nose. Sound familiar? If so, here’s how to reduce the threats in your home and make it safe again.

Step 1 - Find Out Which Allergies You Have

Schedule an appointment to see your doctor and discuss your symptoms with him or her. You will be given a test to help narrow down your allergies. Once you learn what is affecting you, you can make any necessary lifestyle changes.

Step 2 - Start Cleaning

Allergens like to collect and stick to certain things. Look for places where they can easily accumulate, like on stuffed animals or in thick rugs. Remove those items from your home. You’ll also want to start a regular cleaning regimen and stick to it. Because we spend a third of our life in our bedrooms, this room deserves extra attention.

Change and wash your bed linens weekly. You can also encase your mattress, pillows, and box springs in dust mite–proof covers. Clean bathtubs and showers once a month to help prevent mold. If you are sensitive to the dander from your pets, limit their access to certain parts of the home. Change the filter on your forced-air furnace every other month, or monthly if you have pets.

Vacuum weekly with a vacuum that features a HEPA filter. Shampoo your carpets regularly. Clean your kitchen sink daily to prevent mold and don’t allow dishes to pile up. Empty out the refrigerator of any old food to prevent mold from growing. Empty your kitchen trashcan daily.

Step 3 - Lifestyle Changes to Make

If you suffer from allergies, making certain lifestyle changes can help you reduce your exposure. Here are a few things you can consider to help ease your condition.

Avoid horizontal blinds on the windows. Use only washable, roller-type shades and washable curtains made from synthetic fabrics or cotton. Leave the windows shut during the high-pollen season and rely on your air conditioning for fresh air. Spread aquarium gravel over the dirt if you have potted plants in your home, this will help reduce mold build-up. Consider replacing upholstered furniture with furniture made from leather, plastic, wood, or metal.

Check for any plumbing leaks and have them repaired immediately. Use the exhaust fan in your bathroom when taking showers. Get rid of any wallpaper and replace it with either tile or mold-resistant paint. Check your dryer’s vent to make sure it is venting the air outside the home.

Reducing allergens in the home will help you sleep better at night and breathe easier during the day. Many of the solutions simply boil down to maintaining a clean and tidy home. Once you have that accomplished, the battle is already won.