7 Tips to Reduce Indoor Allergens in Your Home


sneezingDo you find yourself sneezing or having running nose at home? Does your skin itch? If you have allergy symptoms at home, you should get an allergy test to find out if you are hypersensitive to indoor allergens. If tested positive, you have to take steps to remove or reduce the allergens – the common ones are house dust mites, mold, pet dander and cockroach droppings. Let’s go through these 7 tips that can help make your home a friendlier place for your allergies!

Tip #1 – Washing in above 60 degrees 

Washing in warm water kills the house dust mites that live in your bed sheet and pillow covers. Dust mites thrive in room temperature, humid environment and feed on dead skin. This is why your bedroom and bed are their favorite living places. Wash the sheets and covers weekly to kill the house dust mites. More measures to reduce house dust mites are listed here, including not using carpets and heavy upholstery.

Tip #2 – Change mattress and pillows regularly

Mattress and pillows host a lot of dust mites. While it is possible to wash the bed sheets and pillow covers weekly, it is not possible to wash mattress and pillows. Sunning the mattress and pillow can reduce dust mites. To do so, you will have to use a thinner mattress that can be sunned and replaced every year or every two years. (Don’t invest in a heavy, expensive mattress!) Pillows are more affordable and can be changed regularly.

Tip #3 – Ventilate your home

Mold and dust mites thrive in humid environment; you can use air conditioning to lower the humidity but also be mindful not to make the room too dry (bad for skin). For fresh air, ventilate your room and allow for air circulation. When designing your home, be mindful of dead air pockets in the room and avoid putting your bed there.

Tip #4 – Reduce food for mold

Mold thrives in room temperature and humid environment and feed on home materials like wallpaper glue, wood, leather, cotton and textile. Opt for mold resistant materials and mold resistant boards in your home. Synthetic materials are more mold resistant than natural materials. Be sure that shower and bathroom doors are sealed properly to reduce moisture to your bedroom. There should also be good air circulation in the bathroom.

Tip #5 – Stop that leakage

Leaked water that seeps through walls trap moisture in the walls and create food for mold and cockroaches (that thrive in wet environment). Look out in your home for poor drainage or damp basement. Also check the pipes and plumbing to ensure there is no leakage as water is also a source of food for cockroaches.

Tip #6 – Clear food

Cockroaches’ droppings and saliva are also common indoor allergens. Cockroaches thrive in warm and humid environment and feed on our thrash and water. Clear thrash bag daily, wash dishes and clear food from the sink and dining table.

Tip #7 - Think hard about pet ownership

Allergy to pet dander can range from mild to severe and given how difficult it is to limit the spread of pet dander in your home, you may want to think hard about owning a cat/dog if you are allergic to cat/dog dander. Pet dander, especially that of cats, are light and can travel quite far. If you have to have the pet, you would want to wash the pet outdoors and keep the pet away from your bedroom.

If you suspect you have an indoor allergy, take an allergy test and consult a doctor. You can then focus on steps to reduce the allergen you are sensitive to!

Photo: “Child blowing his nose” by David Castillo Dominici

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