Allergy proofing your home

Spring sneezing is in full swing with allergy-makers like pollen, grass and mold counts up. Preventing allergens from invading your home can help stifle those sniffles before a full blown attack.

Chelsie Roblas, an allergy sufferer, has an attack almost every week during the peak season and on a bad day the symptoms can knock her off her feet for an entire day. She's allergic to almost every type of tree, grass dust mites and dogs though she has two, a cat and a newborn baby girl.

Roblas takes precautions that Dr. Phillip Conner, family physician at Christus St. Patrick Hospital, recommends and he adds some that she had not thought of.

Here is a good resource list to rid your home of most allergens:

  1. Change air filters - Do this regularly and use HEPA filter to catch pollen spores before they circulate around the house.
  2. Keep the pet areas clean and away from the bedroom – "We spend seven or eight hours every day in the bedroom so that's a significant period of the day you're going to be in that area," said Dr. Conner.
  3. Turn ceiling and box fans off while sleeping – "It's an allergy concentrator. The fans suck in the air and dust from the back of the room and sort of eject it into your face throughout the night," explained. Dr. Conner.
  4. Use HEPA filter in vacuum
  5. Wash stuffed animals frequently – Dr. Conner said these are a big source of dust allergies.
  6. Pet dander is almost unavoidable especially with cats – Dr. Conner called feline dander ‘sticky' and said, "It tends to stick to clothes. It sticks to furniture and it's difficult to get rid of." He added that some pet breeds are hypo-allergenic and may be a good solution.
  7. Hardwood better than carpet – Dust, hair and dander can become trapped in the carpet while hardwood floor can stay cleaner with regular maintenance, said Dr. Conner.
  8. Air purifiers great for bedroom, not for large rooms – Dr. Conner said purifiers are a waste in large spaces, but a good investment for the bedroom.
  9. Allergen covers for pillows and mattress - These readily available covers can help cut down on dust mites.
  10. Wear mask while mowing lawn – Though it is not the most fashionable item, a mask can help keep grass and pollen at bay.

These tips can help keep allergens out of your home, but "it's impossible to sterilize completely," said Dr. Conner.

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