Allergy-Proof Your Environment
Medicines can help ease your stuffy nose and itchy eyes once they strike, but you also can take steps to prevent symptoms.
Allergy-Proof Your Home
- Keep windows closed and use air conditioning if you're allergic to pollen. Don't use fans. They can stir up dust.
- Filter the air. Cover air conditioning vents with cheesecloth to catch pollen, and use HEPA filters. Clean air filters often.
- Keep the humidity in your house below 50% to prevent mold growth.
- If you have pets, keep them out of the bedroom and be sure to bathe them often.
- Avoid areas where molds may collect, including basements, garages, crawl spaces, barns, and compost heaps. Have someone else clean these areas often.
- Put dehumidifiers in basements and other areas of the house where mold tends to collect. Clean them every week.
- Make sure shoes and clothes are dry before storing.
- Take wet clothes out of the washing machine right away, so mold doesn’t grow.
- Wash shower curtains and bathroom tiles with mold-killing solutions.
- Don't overwater indoor plants. Soil encourages mold growth.
- Store firewood outside.
- Use hypoallergenic covers for pillows, mattresses, and box springs. Avoid overstuffed furniture and down-filled bedding or pillows.
- Wash your bedding every week in hot water.
- Don’t let anyone smoke in your house.
- Wear a mask and gloves when you clean, vacuum, or paint to limit dust and chemical exposure.
- Vacuum twice a week.
- Limit throw rugs to reduce dust and mold. Make sure rugs are washable.
- Choose hardwood or vinyl floors instead of carpeting. If you must have carpeting, choose low-pile.
- Avoid dust-collecting blinds or long drapes. Use window shades instead.
- Make sure there is an exhaust fan over the stove to remove cooking fumes.
When You're Outdoors
- Keep walks in wooded areas.
- Check the forecast. Stay indoors as much as possible on hot, dry, windy days when pollen counts are generally highest.
- Try to avoid extreme temperature changes. They are triggers for some people with asthma.
- If possible, stay indoors in the early morning, when pollen counts are usually highest.
- Wear a mask (like a low-cost painter's mask) when mowing the lawn if you are allergic to grass pollen or mold. Better yet, get someone else to mow your lawn.
- Wear a mask when gardening, if pollen bothers you.
- Avoid raking leaves or working with hay or mulch if you are allergic to mold.
- After being outdoors, take a shower, wash your hair, and change your clothes to remove pollen.
- To protect yourself from insect stings, wear shoes, long pants, and sleeves. Do not wear scented deodorants, perfumes, shampoos, or hair products.
- Don't hang clothes or linens outdoors to dry, as pollen and molds may collect in them and can make your allergies worse.
Allergy-Proof When You're Traveling
- Pack your allergy drugs in your carry-on bag.
- Bring an extra supply of medication in case you need them.
- Ask for a non-smoking room.
- Ask for non-allergenic pillows. Or bring your own hypoallergenic pillow cover from home.
- If possible, keep the vent on the room air conditioner shut.
- Eat in smoke-free restaurants.