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    Relief for Allergies at Home

    Allergy-proof your home to eliminate stuffy sneezes.

    Allergies in the Living Room, Family Room and Playroom

    These rooms may not have quite the allergy-aggravating potential that the bedroom does, but similar rules apply:

    • Keep carpeted surfaces to a minimum.
    • Choose smooth-surfaced furniture, like leather, vinyl, and ultrasuede over heavily upholstered pieces.
    • Limit soft and plush toys, and wash them regularly.
    • In rooms with carpeting, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.

    Vacuums with HEPA filters “reduce the amount of particles thrown up in the air when you’re vacuuming,” says Sublett.

    Also, it’s a good idea to wear an allergy face mask when you’re vacuuming.” He recommends a mask rated at least N95 by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, which filters extremely small particles.

    Allergies in the Kitchen and Bathrooms

    Cockroaches are another common trigger of allergies and asthma, so it’s important to keep the kitchen clean. Keep all food stored in sealed containers, and keep garbage cans covered and emptied regularly.

    Mold from moisture also tends to accumulate in both the kitchen and bathroom. Use vent fans to clear the air after cooking or showering, and make sure that all solid surfaces are regularly cleaned using a 5% bleach cleaning solution. Showers and bathtubs should be cleaned weekly and checked for mold and mildew.

    Refrigerator drip pans are another often-neglected source of mold. If your fridge has one, pull it out when you do your regular kitchen cleaning and scrub it down.

    Whole-House Solutions for Allergies

    The best way to keep allergens out of your house is to keep it clean and dry. Molds and mildew thrive in damp, poorly ventilated environments, so repair leaking roofs and pipes promptly. Avoid putting carpet on concrete floors, and keep clothing and papers away from damp areas. You can use dehumidifiers in areas that tend to accumulate moisture (like the basement), but be sure to empty them regularly and keep them clean or they will become another source of mold and mildew.

    You can also guard your home from allergens tracked in from outside using a tracking mat -- not a cute welcome mat, but a good-sized rubberized mat like you’d see in commercial buildings.

    “Studies have shown that many of the particles that are brought into the house are on your shoes,” says Sublett.

    It may be impossible to completely allergy-proof your home, but if you follow these tips you may find yourself breathing easier.

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    Reviewed on July 08, 2008

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