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    How to Allergy-Proof Your World

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    Medicines help treat allergy symptoms once they strike. But these easy steps can help you avoid having an attack no matter where you are.

    At Home

    • Keep windows closed and run the air conditioner if you're allergic to pollen. Don't use fans since they can stir up dust.
    • Filter the air. Cover air conditioning vents with cheesecloth to trap pollen. Use HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters, and clean them often. Have someone come and clean out your air ducts at least once a year.
    • Keep the humidity in your home below 50% to help prevent mold growth.
    • If you have pets, consider keeping them outside. If your allergies are severe, you might ask someone else to take care of them. Animal dander and saliva are common allergens for many people. If you decide to keep your pets inside, don’t let them in your bedroom. Bathe them often, too.
    • Avoid areas where mold can collect, like basements, garages, crawl spaces, barns, and compost heaps. Have someone else clean these areas often.
    • Install dehumidifiers in your basement and other parts of the home where mold grows. Clean these devices every week.
    • Simple mold-testing kits are available in big box stores and hardware stores. They’re easy to use and will let you know how much mold is in your home. If there’s a lot, you can work to get rid of it, especially in the rooms where you spend most of your time.
    • Air out damp clothes and shoes inside before you store them.
    • Remove laundry from the washing machine promptly. Don't leave wet clothes in the washer, where mold can quickly grow.
    • Wash shower curtains and bathroom tiles with mold-killing solutions.
    • Don't collect too many indoor plants. Soil encourages mold growth.
    • Store firewood outside.
    • Use plastic 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 allow anyone to smoke in your home.
    • Wear a mask and gloves when you clean, vacuum, or paint. That will limit your exposure to dust and chemicals.
    • Vacuum once or twice a week.
    • Limit how many throw rugs you keep to reduce dust and mold. If you do have them, make sure you can wash them.
    • When possible, choose hardwood floors. If you must have carpet, go with a low-pile opting.
    • Avoid dust-collecting Venetian blinds or long drapes. Replace old window coverings with shades or shutters.
    • Install an exhaust fan over your stove to remove cooking fumes.
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