6 Ways to Reduce Allergens at Home

6 Ways to Reduce Allergens at Home

You can reduce the number and severity of allergic reactions you experience by lessening your exposure to allergens. However, avoiding contact with these substances isn’t always easy. In one national study, over 50% of surveyed U.S. homes had at least six types of detectable allergens. 

An allergic reaction occurs when your immune system becomes hypersensitive to a specific substance. Your body identifies it as a harmful invader, and it overreacts by triggering antibodies to protect your well-being. The antibodies produce chemicals that can cause symptoms like coughing and wheezing in as little as 15-30 minutes of contact. 

Knowing the source of your allergy symptoms is the first step in getting relief. The providers at Macomb Medical Clinic in Sterling Heights, Michigan, can identify the allergens that trigger your reactions. Based on a comprehensive examination, medical history and in-office allergy testing, your provider designs a treatment plan to reduce exposure and treat symptoms.

Because allergens like dust, mold, and pet dander aren’t always detectable, allowing these substances to remain in your home can make you susceptible to life-disrupting allergy symptoms year-round. Taking these steps can help you reduce the allergens in your home.

1. Control pet allergens

If you’re allergic to your pet, you may experience an allergic reaction to the proteins in their saliva and skin glands or their dander and fur. Dander and fur can stick to carpets, furniture, and clothing.

Bathing your pet weekly can reduce the level of old skin cells that your pet sheds. To limit exposure to pet dander, make your bedroom a pet-free zone by not allowing your pet to enter the room. Rely on another family member to groom your pet and clean their bedding. 

2. Reduce dust mites

Dust mites are microscopic creatures that thrive on the minuscule flakes of human skin that your body naturally sheds daily. These flakes settle into mattresses, bedding, curtains, and upholstered furniture. 

If you have an allergy to dust mites, you may experience a reaction when you come in contact with their cast skins, fecal material, and secretions. Using plastic, zippered encasements on your mattress, box spring, and pillow can prevent your contact with dust mites. 

Washing your bedding with water at a temperature of at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit and using a hot clothes dryer can help eradicate dust mites in these fabrics. Maintaining less than 50% humidity in your home can make the environment less welcoming for mites. 

3. Keep pollen outside

You can limit your exposure to pollen released by trees, weeds, and grasses by remaining inside on days categorized as having high pollen counts or windy days when pollen can travel through the air. But it’s important to ensure that your home remains pollen-free, too.

Avoid bringing pollen into your home by removing shoes and changing into clean clothes after spending time outside. Bathe or shower before bedtime to remove pollen that may have settled in your hair or on your skin. Close windows and doors when pollen season is at its peak. 

4. Dust often

You can reduce your exposure to all types of indoor allergens with regular household dusting if you take measures to avoid spreading the allergen particles into the air. When dusting, work from top to bottom, and use a dampened cloth to trap the dust so you’re not simply spreading the particle from one surface to another.

Remember to clean blinds, ceiling fans, and curtains along with the nooks and hidden spaces where dust can settle. 

5. Control mold

The moisture and humidity that naturally occur in your bathroom can be a breeding ground for mold. Keeping surfaces clean and dry can inhibit the growth of mold and prevent its spread if it occurs. 

In the bathroom, run an exhaust fan or open a window after a bath or shower. Towel dry the shower or tub after use. Clean fixtures with a mixture of 1 cup of bleach and 1 cup of water to remove any existing mold before it spreads.

Replace carpeting on floors with vinyl or tile and opt for painted or tiled walls instead of wallpaper to avoid having mold-friendly surfaces in the bathroom. 

6. Use HEPA filters

High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters capture 99.7% of all particles as small as 0.3 microns, a size that can penetrate your lungs. This includes indoor allergens such as animal dander, mold, dust mites, and pollen. 

HEPA filters are available for whole-house HVAC systems or single-room air purifiers. Cleaning with a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter allows you to suction the dust without pushing allergens back into the room. 

Find out more about indoor allergens and controlling your exposure to them, and get treatment to alleviate your symptoms when your allergies act up. Schedule a consultation with the team at Macomb Medical Clinic by calling the office today.

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