- Kelly Sundstrom For the AJC
Allergies can make you feel miserable, and treating the triggers can sometimes feel like a losing game, especially if you have multiple family members with struggling with allergies. Reducing your household allergies on a daily basis is an effective way to manage your family's health, and during allergy season it can make all the difference.
More than just a single method of treatment, really reducing your family's exposure to allergens often requires a multi-faceted approach.
This allergy-proof process includes the following:
Keep track of the pollen count.
When pollen counts are high, allergens floating around in the air can easily flow into your home and cause an increase in asthma attacks and allergic reactions. If you or your family members struggle with allergies, closely monitor the pollen count in your area. Take measures to avoid exposure by closing windows and doors, especially in the afternoon when the pollen counts are at their peak.
Ramp up your cleaning.
Sure, you keep a pretty clean house, but in order to reduce household allergens you might need to step it up a notch. You might not be able to see it, but outdoor and indoor allergens can end up all over clothing, carpeting, rugs and surfaces inside your home. To keep allergens at bay, make sure to wash all clothing, bedding and linens at least once per week, vacuum all the rugs and carpeting in your house at least twice per week and wipe all surfaces around your house multiple times per week. Use a High-Efficiency Particulate Air, or HEPA, filter in your vacuum and in your bedroom, which helps remove allergens from the air and from carpeting.
Become a mold detective.
Mold loves living in Georgia homes. They thrive in warm, humid environments and grow quickly. To reduce the level of mold in your home, examine and regularly clean shower curtains, bathroom and kitchen tile and grout where mold loves to set up camp. Avoid storing clothing and bedding in the basement where it's often damp, and consider installing a basement dehumidifier to reduce this moisture. Inspect all curtains, rugs, carpeting and furniture in your home for signs of mold. If you find any, clean with a bleach solution or discard completely.
Utilize home remedies.
While home remedies won't reduce your exposure to allergens, many experts think they might reduce reactions to them. Raw, local honey, for example, is often used as a natural treatment to regional allergens in the air by helping your body build up a tolerance to them. The idea is that by increasing your exposure to pollen, unprocessed, local honey could help reduce your reactions to these pollens, but only for adults, teens and children 12 months and older.
Use of a neti pot, a traditional Ayurvedic remedy, can also minimize your reaction to allergens by flushing them out of your nasal passages. According to Ohio State University, saline water used in a neti pot both soothes the delicate tissues in the nose and actively removes allergens like pollen. When using a neti pot, it's recommended to use distilled water and sea salt, which won't contain unwanted contaminants.
Interested in finding out the pollen count in your area? Check out the Metro Atlanta pollen count and allergy index.