It may be summer, but most of us are spending more time indoors this year in response to the COVID crisis. Unfortunately, those of us who suffer from allergies might have noticed that it hasn’t been much of a reprieve this year. What are we allergic to, and how do we minimize its impact?
Many of us automatically associate spring, summer, and the outdoors with allergies. Allergens (the substances that trigger allergy symptoms) are present at all times of the year. Although pollination can begin as early as late February, it can continue to cause trouble through June. How severe you react to pollen from a day-to-day basis depends on many variables, like the time of day, rainfall in recent days, temperature, and humidity. If you’ve been stuck indoors, you might wonder how you might come into contact with pollen. Unfortunately, pollen can enter your home from unexpected sources. Here are a couple of common ways that pollen can sneak into your home:
- Open windows
- Small cracks in the door, windows, and poor insulation
Pollen is designed to travel long distances to survive and thrive. They can easily find their way into your home, either through small openings, by jumping onto your dog, or your clothing and even hair. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way of keeping pollen out of your home. There are ways to minimize exposure, and this is important. Typically, the greater the exposure, the more severe the reaction.
Pollen can enter your home in sneaky ways. Once it finds a place in your home, you will constantly be exposed to it, making your life miserable. The key is to create a separation from the outdoors and your house. Incidentally, many of these hygiene tips will also help you reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19 as well.
- Shower as soon as you get home
- Change clothes as soon as you get home
- Keep an area separate to remove your shoes and outerwear
- Use a HEPA filter
- Wash your clothes, linens, and mattresses
- Wash your pets more often, and keep them out of your bedroom
- Vacuum your house more often, and consider using wet wipes to wipe down areas that attract dust like your desk and computer
While it’s impractical if not impossible to completely shut out pollen, dust, and other potential allergens. This is especially tough if you have pets. There are ways to mitigate exposure, which can make a big difference in how you get through the season. The separation between the outdoors and your home will never be vacuum-sealed, but small considerations that help create a barrier will make your life much more comfortable.
Cleaning Your Home
Cleaning can help to remove pollen as well as other common allergens from your home. There’s a lot of good reasons to do a major cleaning of your house at least once a year but pollen and dust allergies top the list for many people.
First, look for common areas that collect dust and dirt. Tabletops, shelves, books, fireplaces, cabinets, and counters are common culprits that accumulate debris. Another culprit that often goes unnoticed is computers, television sets, and other electronic devices. These suck in copious amounts of dust and can even break down your devices over time if they aren’t cleaned, not to mention the health hazard. If you have a room (usually the dining room) that rarely gets used, these spaces can also accumulate dust through neglect. Use a damp mop to clean away hard surfaces like wood or tile floors. With a lot of us stuck indoors, it’s a great opportunity to take some extra time to ensure that your house is clean and allergen-free.
Mold allergies are less well known but still a significant problem for many people. Cleaning the wet areas like sinks and tubs can help reduce another source of allergies while promoting hygiene and overall wellness. The act of cleaning can also be psychologically fulfilling. While you’re at it, don’t forget to declutter your skincare products too. The good news is that once you’re done with the clean-up, most pollen allergies should clear up as summer is just around the corner.