Summer is quickly approaching, and although many take the warm weather and emerging sunshine as good news, severe allergy sufferers can probably feel their eyes watering up and itching already, especially since experts are warning that the allergy season could start earlier and last longer this year, according to DNA Info.
“What’s happening is we have a warming climate, which means the allergy season is starting two to three weeks earlier this year,” said allergist Dr. Clifford Bassett, founder and medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York. “And it’s going longer into the fall, into October, so we have a longer period of time for people to be exposed to pollen.”
The average child catches between six and 10 colds a year, and both colds and allergies are infamous for emerging with the start of the warmer months. Luckily, there are many small steps you can take around your home to limit the effects of those irritating and debilitating allergies and illnesses.
First, to make spring cleaning a more manageable endeavor, mark each task with an estimated time — 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour. Each day do only one thing. Within 30 days, your whole home will be uncluttered and clean. Basset recommends starting spring and summer cleaning with the kitchen.
“Whenever you smell mildew, you’ve got a mold problem,” he said, recommending homeowners check refrigerators for possible leaks. He also suggests keeping an eye out for cockroaches, and the best way to do that is to keep the kitchen as clean as possible in general. But when it comes to cleaning and organizing, try to recycle all that you can. On average, it costs $30 per ton to recycle trash and $50 per ton to send it to a landfill.
The living room can also harbor dust and other allergens. For a permanent reduction, Basset suggests investing in furniture with easy-to-clean materials such as leather, metal, plastic, and wood.
“Things that can be more easily cleaned are less of a source for indoor allergens,” he said, mentioning that this rule applies to carpets and flooring as well.
Finally, the bedroom is “the most important room to keep allergen-free, because all of us spend the most time at once in the bedroom while we’re sleeping eight to ten hours a night,” according to Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist with the Allergy and Asthma Associates of Murray Hill and a spokesperson for the nonprofit Allergy and Asthma Network.
Parikh suggests three main ways to keep the bedroom clean. Clean the room often, keep pets out, and shower before bed. For those with severe or unusual allergies, such as to dust mite feces, experts recommend investing in a mattress cover in addition to other protective bedding.
“Dust-mite covers that zip around your mattress and box spring, as well as your pillow, have been the only thing in research data that has shown to reduce exposure to dust mites for people who suffer from dust-mite induced allergies and asthma,” Parikh said.
If these allergy-fighting cleaning methods aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other natural remedies to try. Vitamin C, isotonic saline nasal rinse, and aromatherapy are just a few methods suggested by experts. Still, keeping a clean home is the best way to keep spring and summer allergens at bay.