Try these simple tips to control allergens that may lurk in your home.
Fixer Upper: Updating your house? Hardwood floors are a great amenity -- and perfect for allergy-prone families.
TLC for the AC: Don't take your air conditioner for granted. Change the filter every month or so. Clean air ducts at least once a year.
Steam Heat: Vacuuming or steam cleaning upholstered furniture and carpets -- and doing it often -- helps control allergens.
Separate Rooms: Room air cleaners can be a breath-saver -- in the bedroom, kitchen, TV room, office, or wherever you spend lots of time.
Filter It Out: Use air conditioning during warm, humid months. You'll filter out 99% of all pollen and allergen-producing materials.
Beware the Breeze: Wash bed linens in hot water to kill dust mites. And use the dryer. Hanging clothes in the breeze brings allergens inside.
Tough Love: Many people are sensitive to animal dander and saliva. Wash pets often. Banish them from the bedroom. Send Fido outside.
Toy Terrors: Children's stuffed toys can harbor dust mites. Buy ones that are washable so you can clean them regularly.
Pillow Talk: Keep dust mites out of the bedroom. Box springs, mattresses, and pillows should be enclosed in zippered allergen-proof casings.
Nightly News: Even if night temperatures are cool, keep windows closed. Air-conditioning keeps pollen and mold out.
Hobby Hazards: Could a hobby worsen your asthma? Paint fumes, wood dust, and other irritants in the air can trigger and aggravate airways.
Got a Basement? Then you've likely got mold. Install a dehumidifier, and clean it often. Stay upstairs as much as possible.
Mite Not: Want to control dust mites in bedrooms? Replace carpets with hardwood floors. Attach cheesecloth over air vents. Ban fuzzy blankets.
Deal With Dry Air: A little moisture in the air makes breathing easier for most. Turn on the humidifier if your house is dry.
Inside Job: Don't hang clothes out to dry -- you'll bring in loads of pollen and mold. The clothes dryer is your friend.
Get Bold With Mold: Banish mold from your bathrooms. Clean with mold-killing products. Use exhaust fans to vent steam. Wash shower curtains.
Cleaner Crisis: Most vacuums don't pick up tiny allergens. They stir them up instead. Get a vacuum with a HEPA filter. It makes all the difference.
Duct Season: Before turning on heat the first time, get ducts cleaned. Otherwise, you'll get blasted with mold and other allergens.
Moldy Oldies: Mold grows on old bread -- but also on cheese, mushrooms, dried fruits, soy sauce, sour cream, and hot dogs. Got a mold allergy?
Cleaning Crisis: House cleaning is a good thing, but cleaning agents can cause serious airway irritations. Good ventilation is key.
Humidity. Too Much or Too Little: Mold and dust mites thrive in moist environments. Keep the humidity in your house between 40% and 20% to control allergens and still breathe comfortably.
Got You Covered: Your air vents push allergens into every room. Cover bedroom vents with cheesecloth -- and replace when soiled.
In Hot Water: Check your water heater. Wash sheets and pillowcases in hot water -- at least 130 F -- to kill dust mites.
Got Ragweed Allergy? Then you're likely sensitive to bananas, cucumbers, melons, zucchini, sunflower seeds, and chamomile tea.
Your "Om" Home: Stressed? Try meditation. Stress makes allergy symptoms worse -- and meditation is a fast-acting stress reliever.
Stuffed Up? Could it be a sinus infection? Facial pain -- and thick nasal discharge for over 7 days -- are a few symptoms.
Shower Spa: Stuffed up? Take a hot shower. A steamy bathroom helps to open and thin the mucus in your sinuses.
Rip It Up: Carpets and throw rugs collect dust, mites, and mold. Rip up wall-to-wall carpeting. Make sure small rugs are washable.
Sweet Heat: Warm compresses on a child's face can help soothe sinus pressure and pain.
Wrap It Up: In fall, indoor allergens are our biggest pests. To control bedroom dust mites, wrap your pillows, mattress, and box springs in special allergen-proof covers.
Time to Winterize: Fixing leaks around windows and doors helps cut heating bills. It also keeps allergens outside.
Keep It Closed: Keep windows closed, even if temperatures are milder. You'll keep outdoor allergens where they should be -- outdoors.
Arid Home Air: Your home heating system dries indoor air, which can lead to sinus infections. A humidifier bumps humidity to 50%.