Avoiding indoor allergens

For some people, allergy season lasts all year and its symptoms strike close to home. It can be challenging to avoid your allergy triggers when they're all over your house, but it can be done.

Deal with dust. Keep the house as dust-free as possible. When dusting, use a damp cloth. The dust will cling to the cloth better this way, keeping it from floating off into the air. Regularly wash bedding linens in hot water, and choose sturdy but lightweight fabric blankets that can withstand weekly washings.

The vacuum may seem like an ally to those with allergies, but older vacuums can actually stir up dust. If you can, either wear a protective face mask or find a newer model vacuum with a high efficiency particulate air filter, better known as a HEPA filter. Also, remember to routinely change the vacuum dust bags or clean the dust collector. If all else fails, ask someone else to vacuum for you.

Smooth the surfaces. Dust clings to random clutter like clothes, books, and paperwork. Piles of pillows may please the eye, but they're dust collectors, too, as are stuffed toys. Houseplants seem like they would be good for the air, but they tend to accumulate dust and mould.

You can regularly wipe down surfaces to get rid of dust, but you can also simply reduce the number of dust-gathering surfaces in your home. Opt for hardwoods or linoleum over carpet and rugs, and choose window shades instead of heavy fabric curtains or dust-catching blinds.

Minimize the mould. A cool, well-ventilated home with low humidity levels will invite less mould. Closed-in spaces such as closets, basements, and especially bathrooms are mould magnets. Shower curtains tend to get mouldy after repeated use and should either be regularly bleached or simply replaced.

Protect yourself from pet dander. Unfortunately, most experts would recommend removing allergy-causing animals from the house. You may also want to consider implementing a strict "No pets allowed" policy in bedrooms. Another option is to adopt a hypoallergenic pet that is less likely to cause allergic reactions.

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