April showers bring May flowers, and May flowers bring pollen, and pollen can be miserable if you’re allergic to it. For some unfortunate people, even being indoors in spring can make you sick. If you’re having an indoor sneeze-fest, complete with a drippy nose and watery/itchy eyes, your home air quality could be compromised by common indoor allergens. We highlight them below, then suggest ways to find relief from your symptoms.
Common Spring Indoor Allergens
Pollen – The minute plants begin to bloom, pollen starts to roam. It doesn’t just affect you when you’re outdoors—it can find its way inside your home through open windows or doors, even clinging to your pet’s fur and sticking to your shoes or clothes.
Dust – The four-season allergen. Dust is composed of dead skin cells, fabric fibers, dust mites, pet dander, and more (gross). For people with sensitive allergies, it can be a trigger all year.
Dust mites – According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the most common allergy and asthma trigger is microscopic insects called dust mites. While they’re active year-round, they tend to thrive best in the summer months when temperatures rise above 70 degrees and humidity levels exceed 40 percent. To keep them at bay, buy allergenproof encasing for pillows, mattresses, and box springs, and wash sheets in hot water every week.
Pet dander – Dander is a protein found in fluids secreted from most household pets that can collect in your pet’s hair. Your clothing can also be a carrier for pet dander. If you’re allergic, there are some breeds of dogs that produce less dander. According to the American Kennel Club, the following breeds are easier on people with allergies: the Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise, Chinese Crested, Irish Water Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Maltese Poodle (any size), and Portuguese Water Dog.
Mold – Mold thrives in warm, humid conditions, so any areas in your home where moisture collects become especially prone to mold growth during the spring and summer. Danger zones tend to be damp, dark places like bathrooms and basements. *Tip: If you’re remodeling your basement, think about putting down tile instead of carpet. If there’s ever a future issue with water leaking, you’ll want a floor that can dry easily. (Carpet will just get wet and moldy.)
Ways to Minimize Indoor Allergy Symptoms
- Give your house a thorough spring cleaning to get rid of dust you might not normally see.
- Vacuum and dust regularly throughout the season.
- Although the prospect of a fresh breeze is enticing, if you’re sensitive to allergens you should keep windows closed to prevent airborne allergens from entering your house.
- Refrain from drying laundry outside so that it doesn’t collect allergens that will be brought indoors.
- Wash pet dogs regularly to minimize dander.
- Run vent fans after cooking or showering.
- Regularly wipe down bathroom and kitchen surfaces with a bleach-based cleaning solution.
- Buy an air filter with a HEPA filter.