Spring is the season for renewal, but for the 15% of Australians affected by hay fever, it can be a time of dread. Medically known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, hay fever is caused by “the body’s immune response to inhaled pollen”. Symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes, to name a few. Typically associated with the transitional period between Winter to Spring, seasonal allergies can actually strike at any time of the year depending on the flowering times of grass and flowers in your part of the country.
If you’re one of many people affected by seasonal allergies, you’ll know that it’s near impossible to avoid pollen outside of maybe living in a plastic bubble. However, just because you can’t control Mother Nature, doesn’t mean you can’t do your best to minimise the effects of allergens in your own home.
With Spring on the horizon, get a head start on hay fever by checking through our list of recommendations on how to prepare your home for allergy season. Follow our pointers to help reduce pollen and other allergens in your home to improve your quality of life.
- Vacuum at least twice a week: Use a water filtration vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate) filter for efficient filtering and cleaning that disturbs fewer dust particles.
- Steam clean: Steam clean carpets on a regular basis, especially in the bedroom where you spend a majority of your time.
- Air-con on: Avoid heavy fan use as this can stir up dust.
- Clean air filters and ducts: Clean air filters and ducts at least once a year.
- Wash bedding weekly: Gather your sheets, pillowcases and other bedding and wash every week in hot water to kill and reduce dust mites.
- Tumble dry: Decrease your level of exposure to pollen by using a tumble dryer instead of air-drying bedding or clothing.
- Remove your shoes: Leave your footwear at the door or use doormats to prevent tracking in dust from outside.
- Pet-free bedrooms: Pet dander and saliva can be a trigger for some allergy sufferers. If making your animal friend sleep outside is unthinkable to you, make sure to bathe your pet at least once a month.
- Dehumidify: Keep your house well ventilated and the humidity low. Use a dehumidifier where necessary and if you’re sensitive to mould, remove indoor pot plants as they can promote mould growth.
- De-clutter: Clear away rubbish and mess frequently as clutter provides a perfect home for dust mites, mould, and other nasties.
- Inspect your garden: Check your yard for plants, weeds, or trees that cause allergies and have the offenders removed if possible. Research low allergen plants before commencing any landscaping.
- Let grass grow: Avoid mowing the lawn to limit your pollen exposure.
- Consider blinds or shutters: Heavy curtains are harder to keep clean. Have a look at installing shutters or blinds, or curtains in a washable material.
As always, for medical advice about your allergies, please consult your doctor. If you need help deciding on allergy-friendly flooring or window-coverings for your home, talk to the Andersens team at your nearest store – they’ll be happy to help.