The trees bloom from now until May. The grass begins its enthusiastic march in May and continues through July. Molds and dust thrive in fall and winter, and while there may be one specific time that is worse for your allergies, getting in the habit of cleaning for allergies can help more than you’d expect!
First- some things to STOP doing
STOP using scented products. 1 in 5 people react to them, and fragrances are a known allergy and asthma trigger. Even green and organic products can trigger asthma and allergies, so keep your products simple.
STOP using fabric softener altogether- that’s been part of published research showing increased asthma since 1976. Laundry is complicated anyway- using homemade soap is usually not actually helpful with modern washers, and getting it wrong can lead to skin reactions or worse. If you want to get your laundry squeaky clean, stick to fragrance free soaps and check the detergent index to make sure it works.
STOP line drying clothes during your worst allergy seasons too- pollen is a physical contaminant, and if you cover your clothes in wind blown things-that-make-you-sneeze, you’re probably going to sneeze.
STOP smoking. Smoking tobacco, even outside of the house, had an impact on the lungs of everyone in the house. Tobacco pollutants are found in dust inside of the house, even if caretakers only smoked outside.
Keep reading for things you can do!
START vacuuming with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter 2 times a week or more. This is particularly useful in removing pet dander, which helps reduce dust mites too.
START using mattress and pillow dust protectors. Your greatest allergen exposure in the home is typically at night, in your bed. An effective dust mite cover will have pores of 8 microns or less to try to keep the dust mite population down. Changing and cleaning these as directed will help keep you sleeping peacefully.
START washing your bedding once a week in HOT water (130F+). That includes stuffed animal friends, if they’re living in the bed. This helps kill off dust mites.
START taking your shoes off at the door- there’s a reason that so many countries have social rules about this, and the reason that matters for allergies is that you don’t want to track dust, pollen, and environmental contamination in on the floors.
START paying attention to ventilation and humidity. The best help for asthma and allergies is air that is cycling rather quickly (4 air changes in the room per hour) and at less than 50% humidity. If accessible, adding a HEPA filter like an austin air or honeywell can help move and filter air, while in oregon you likely need a dehumidifier to reach 50% humidity. Make sure you’re changing furnace air filters, HVAC filters, and running that after-shower fan for the amount of time that you’re supposed to.
Food and respiratory allergies are swiftly increasing, and while some of the factors contributing to this are modifiable (vitamin D deficiency, antacid use, dog exposure, antibiotic use, etc), some factors are caused more by pollution. (deisel fuel particles from living near roads, phthalate esters from plastics, and PCVs from containers).
We need to clean up our houses to keep allergies at bay, but need to remember that we also need to clean up the world to help stop this allergic increase.