Your home is your castle -- except when you’re allergic to it. A recent
nationwide survey found that over half of all Americans test positive for at
least some allergens, and many of these are indoor allergies such as dust,
mold, and pet dander.
How can you allergy-proof your home to make it a refuge, not a source of
sneezes? Take a tour of your house from room to room, find out where the
allergens are lurking, and get relief from indoor allergies.
Year-round symptoms. Seasonal outdoor allergies -- like ragweed -- are a problem only at certain times of the year. Indoor allergies may cause symptoms that never go away.
Symptoms that get worse in colder months. When it's cold, you spend more time indoors, so you’re more exposed to whatever indoors it is you’re allergic to. If you have forced air heat, allergens inside the air ducts may also be blowing into the air.
Seeing a Doctor
It's hard to tell on your own what triggers your indoor allergies. There are lots of possibilities.
Schedule an appointment with an allergist. You may need testing to see what's causing your symptoms.
Once you know what you're allergic to, your doctor may recommend medication or other treatment.
Other Tips for Identifying Indoor Allergens
Keep a record. When symptoms flare up, note where and when and what was going on. Were you around possible allergens? Did symptoms get worse after your basement flooded, which could have caused mold to grow? Did they get better when you were on vacation? This information could help your doctor sort out what's causing your allergies.
Allergy-proof your bedroom. Allergy-proofing your whole house takes a lot of time and money. Start by making changes in your bedroom. You spend more time in that one room than anywhere else.
Remove common triggers. In your bedroom, clean up clutter. Keep your pets out. Get rid of drapes and area rugs that catch dust. If making changes in your bedroom seems to help after a few weeks, think about allergy-proofing more of your house.