For people who spend the winter getting stir crazy and missing the sun, the arrival of spring is one of the most enjoyable times of the year. But for allergy sufferers, the change of seasons is much less fun. And until modern science figures out a way to cure seasonal allergies, there’s not much that those who are plagued by the itchy eyes and stuffed nose can do but take steps to mitigate the effects of the invisible irritants that are making their lives miserable. If you’re one of the unlucky, here are some ways to make your life a little more pleasant this season. Whether you’re a veteran allergy sufferer or you’re dealing with newly-developed symptoms, we’re here to help.
1.) Dealing with allergies is all about winning the fight where you can, when you can. You might not be able to control the quality of the air outside, but you can do something about the atmosphere in your home. Every time you run your furnace or air conditioner, endless amounts of dust and allergens are pulled in from the outdoors, blown through your vents and circulated through your home. Dealing with this requires a two-fold approach. First, make sure to regularly change the air filter in your ventilation system. This reduces the amount of allergens that make it into your home. Manufacturers offer many levels of filtration, from simple ones meant to reduce large particles of dust, to HEPA-certified filters that will trap a majority of the tiniest allergens. Secondly, it’s a must to keep your ducts clean, because filtering your air is a moot point if you’re distributing it into your home through dirty venting. Duct cleaning can be a DIY job with some extra time and a few specialized tools, or you can hire a certified HVAC service team like those at Abt to do it for you for a reasonable fee.
2.) During mild weather around the change of seasons, when you’re not running the AC or the furnace, you’ll still need to deal with dirty interior air. That’s where portable air purifiers come in. These machines come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and room capacities, and are made to do just what their name implies: clean the air. Air purifiers pack a HEPA air filter and a simple fan, and continuously recirculate the air in your room to remove the microscopic allergens floating in the air. Studies have shown that even basic HEPA air purifiers are effective at removing allergens like pet dander and dust mites from the air in your home.
3.) Fabric surfaces are comfortable and cozy, but they’re also great at trapping allergens and can be difficult to keep clean, which can be especially problematic for pet owners. Having a pet in the house isn’t always a problem for light allergy sufferers, but the build-up of pet dander in fabric and carpet can become a painful trigger. Cleaning these surfaces with a powerful, pet-specific vacuum like one from the Dyson Animal series is an effective way to reduce allergen accumulation, helping you breathe easier during nights lounging on the couch. Dyson Animal vacuums were built specifically to meet the needs of pet owners, with the strongest suction of any vacuum—to get out even the most stubborn hair from your couches or carpet—and a unique turbine tool that’s specially-designed to not tangle when it’s sucking up that hair. And integrated HEPA filtration earns Dyson vacuums a certification as Asthma & Allergy Friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
4.) As you may have noticed, the name of the game so far is removing allergies and irritants from the things around you. But what about the things on you? You might not have considered the idea that your clothing can be covered in allergens, from all of the surfaces and environments that contact it every day. And while a lint-roller will make your sweatshirt look presentable, there’s no chance it’s getting it clean. Even many washing machines won’t effectively remove the things that are making your allergies flare up. Consider a washing machine with a dedicated allergy option, like the LG washing machines with the Allergiene cycle. This special cycle, which is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, uses the power of steam to remove over 95% of allergens like dust and pet dander. It’s the perfect way to keep your bedding extra-clean during allergy season.
5.) This list has been decidedly high-tech, so we’re going to end it with a low-tech, natural solution: get some plants. While there is tons of anecdotal evidence about how a greener interior is a cleaner interior, there’s also some hard science, thanks to the NASA Clean Air Study. In this study, NASA performed tests to find out which plants might help keep the air purified in a sealed environment in outer space. Their testing found over two dozen houseplants that were proven to reduce the presence of some volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are common components of air pollution. In other words, adding a Peace lily—a low-maintenance plant that needs little sunlight to grow—to your living room can have you breathing easier this summer.