If you find yourself developing a killer headache when riding an elevator with someone who was a bit generous dabbing on the perfume, you have company. More than 2 million Americans have fragrance allergies or sensitivities -- and the number is on the rise.
Although that person's perfume may have been all too obvious a culprit, there are many hidden sources of fragrances, says Clifford W. Bassett, MD, medical director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York. Bassett helped WebMD sniff out the truth...
Put dust mite-proof covers on pillows, comforters, mattresses, and box springs.
Wash your bedding every week in water that is at least 130 F. Dry it in a hot dryer.
2. Vacuum Regularly
Carpeting is another happy habitat for dust mites. Replace bedroom carpeting with hardwood floors or linoleum and washable area rugs.
If you must have carpet in your bedroom:
Choose low-nap over high-nap carpet, which holds more allergens.
Every week, clean the carpet using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Use a double bag and consider wearing a dust mask to avoid inhaling dust kicked up into the air by vacuuming.
3. Use Light and Breezy Window Treatments
Say good-bye to dust catchers like heavy, dry clean-only drapes and traditional blinds. Instead, try:
Washable cotton or synthetic curtains
Washable roller shades
Wipe window frames and glass to prevent mold and mildew. They can cause upper respiratory symptoms if you have allergies or asthma.
4. Declutter Your Bedroom
To breathe better in bed, think Scandinavian -- minimal fabric, lots of metal and glass, light on knickknacks. The less upholstery in the room, the better.
Move books, magazines, and other decorative items to another room -- unless you want to dust your bedroom often. Don’t store things under your bed.
5. Protect Bedroom Air
Dust mites and mold may like a warm, damp bedroom, but you probably don't.
When it's warm, use your air conditioner, no matter how tempting the outdoor breeze is.
If you live in a humid climate, use a dehumidifier to help keep humidity at 30% to 50%.
Turn down the heat or turn up the AC. Dust mites don’t reproduce well when it’s below 77 F.
You can also keep bedroom air cleaner with an air filtration system that uses a small-particle or HEPA filter. Use it in your central air conditioning and heating systems or use it in a portable air conditioner unit.