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Shopping Tips for an Allergy-Free Home

You’re in good company with your allergies. About 50 million Americans are allergic to something. That's why there are so many products for sale to help you breathe better, sneeze less, and stop itching.

Which ones are worth buying?

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  • HEPA filters. These high-efficiency filters are worth it if you're allergic to things that mostly stay in the air, like pollen and pet dander. Dust mites, on the other hand, are heavier and fall to the ground. So HEPA filters can't suck them out of the air. And the filters won't help much with pet allergies if your animals spend time in your bed or on upholstered furniture, where their dander gets into fabric.
  • Dehumidifiers. If dust mites are your trigger, make their lives miserable. Low humidity hurts them, especially when it's under 40%. You can buy room dehumidifiers or a larger one that goes on your furnace.
  • Air conditioners. If pollen bugs you, close the window and turn on the A/C to keep pollen out. Air conditioners also can help with dust mites because an A/C can keep humidity low. Don’t run window or attic fans.
  • Allergy bedding. Covering your pillows and mattresses in special allergy cases is a good idea, but only if you're allergic to dust mites. They don't do much good for other allergens. Ask your doctor which one you should get.
  • Cleaning supplies. The chemicals in cleaning products, especially the ones you spray, can trigger allergy attacks. They tend to stay in the air and can make you sneeze or get a runny nose or watery eyes. Instead, use cleaners that you can wipe on with a sponge or cloth. Try "green" cleaners that have fewer harsh chemicals. Or make your own cleaners, like a white vinegar spray or baking soda paste.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on October 22, 2012

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