Winter is Coming: Tips For Beating Indoor Allergens

Here in Chicagoland (aside from this week, hello 70 degree weather!) the temperatures are starting to dip and hanging around outside isn't nearly as fun. Sooo this means spending more time indoors.

Now, I love being at home and being cozy during the chilly weather... cuddling up on the couch and wrapping my hands around a mug of something warm is kinda perfect.

However, I'm allergic to mold, dust mites and and our cat so if I don't stay on top of my household, my nose will get completely stuffed up and after a while my skin gets itchy. And you know when ISN'T a fun time to clean and dust your whole house? When you're stuffed up and itchy. So, it's best to not let it get out of control, right?

This is the army of indoor allergens:

  • dust
  • dust mites
  • mold
  • cat dander
  • dog dander
  • rodent dander
  • cockroaches
  • house plant pollen

And here's what you can do about it:

  • Buy air purifiers! We have one in pretty much every room. Read my "Purifying the Air in Your Home" post to see what we bought.
  • Keep the windows closed. Especially on days with lots of pollen.In the months leading up to winter, autumn blows all sorts of pollen around and you don't want that hanging out in your house.
  • Use a SafeGuard filter during the fall if you want to keep your windows open. It keeps out bad stuff like ragweed.
  • Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. Try to do it 3 times a week. Even better, buy one of those allergy friendly vacuums. This way, your time spent cleaning will be more worth it. Add a dust buster into the mix and you won't have to drag out that big vacuum cleaner every time.
  • Scrub down everything in your bathroom on a weekly basis. Mold is no joke health-wise (even aside from allergies) and your bathroom is the perfect place for it to set up shop.
  • Brush your pets outside. Brushing them regularly is important and helps cut down on dander, but if you do it inside your house you're not really helping yourself. I know it'll suck brushing them out in the cold months, but it's worth it! Also use shampoos like Allerpet to cut down on dander. One more thing you can do if you have a dog is have them do a "de-shed" at the groomer. Different groomers have different processes, but most offer SOMEthing. I also wrote a whole post on how to live with a cat if you're allergic which you can read here. This is for people who don't immediately swell up by being in the same room as a cat. And yes, cat groomers exist as well although there aren't as many compared to dog groomers.
  • Take an antihistamine. I use Zyrtec (it's stronger than Claritin, says my allergist).
  • Wash your curtains and dust your blinds. They collect dust like crazy. Actually, throw your blinds away and stick with curtains. It's much easier to just wash your curtains at home (and air dry them so they don't shrink) or dry clean them instead of tediously cleaning your blinds. Who's got time for that?
  • When you dust, use a slightly damp cloth to ensure you're trapping as must dust as possible..
  • Get rid of your house plants. I know... that sucks, but hear me out: flowers have pollen and plants that need to be watered regularly can grow mold in the soil. If you really want an indoor plant, go for something that doesn't require much water like a cactus or succulent.
  • Don't leave food out - not even teeny tiny pieces in your sink. Leaving food out brings the bugs in and (shudder) sometimes cockroaches (blegghhhhh). 

Do you have any other tips that work for you?

 

sources:

AAAAI, MedicineNet