Hot and humid summer weather can impact allergy symptoms -- and to ensure that your indoor and outdoor activities are not impacted by "wheezing and sneezing" moments. Our tips will allow you to manage, reduce and (perhaps) eliminate allergens in your indoor and outdoor environment.
Here are 10 tips to consider:
- Fruit Not Always Your Friend -- Many of our favorite fruits, from apples and bananas to peaches and plums can cause symptoms similar to grass or tree pollen reactions. If you are sensitive, place the fruit in the microwave for 10 seconds to deactivate the proteins, and never eat the peel.
Cleaner Not Always Better -- In general, the old saying "Cleanliness is next to godliness" is true. However, a little exposure to dirt and germs is actually a good thing, because it strengthens the immune system. When cleaning, always use a non-toxic cleaner, and remove excess books, magazines and other clutter from the sleeping area to reduce dust build up. Vintage Pillow Equals Heavy -- If your pillow is older than three years and has not been washed, it weighs more now than when you bought it. It's loaded with dust mites, drool, pollen and anything from your hair or on your face. Buy hypoallergenic pillows instead of a down pillow, with a zippered pillow protector. Refer to the rule of threes after you wash linens weekly: wash zippered cover every three weeks, wash pillow every three months or replace pillow every three years if you don't do any of the above. No Hypo-Dogs -- Poodles, Labradoodles and Yorkshire terriers are all considered hypoallergenic because they don't shed hair, but there's no scientific proof that these breeds produce lower amounts of Can f 1, the most common dog allergen. Avoid exposure to pets, try not to allow them on the bed (if they are outdoor animals) and wash your hands and arms thoroughly after playing with an animal. Carpet Removal -- Tile and hardwood floors are a much better choice, but must be vacuumed or cleaned on a regular basis to eliminate dirt and dust. Shake out and vacuum area rugs on a regular basis, and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter. I recommend the Honeywell True HEPA Air Purifier to keep your home's air as clean and safe as possible. The true HEPA filter captures up to 99.97% of microscopic airborne particles, such as dust, pollen, and pet dander, that pass through the filters (that is as small as 0.3 microns-250x smaller than the width of a human hair!) Use Nylon Shower Curtain Liners -- Allergy sufferers are told to shower often to remove pollen and pet dander from their bodies. But the phthalate chemicals in vinyl shower curtains off-gas with humidity and heat, and also attract mold and mildew. Replace your vinyl liner with a nylon shower curtain liner. Beware Indoor Mold -- Mold is a huge trigger for allergies and asthma, and it's more prevalent than you realize. Watch for mold in the dishwasher and refrigerator pan which can build up quickly and in your air conditioning system; or on wood, paper or cotton materials that remain damp. Freeze Stuffed Toys -- Your child's favorite stuffed animals can harbor dust mites which can trigger allergies and asthma. Freeze stuffed toys for 24 hours in a Ziploc bag to prevent buildup at least once a month. Sunscreen Caution -- We're told to lather up in sunscreen when going outside for extended periods of time, especially during allergy season, when the sun is the strongest. But unfortunately, not only will the outdoor pollen get you wheezing, sneezing and itching -- so too can that sunscreen. Look for products that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to be safe and reduce your chances of a photoallergic reaction. Manage the Outside -- Always take off your shoes before going indoors, and keep all outdoor tools and toys in a mudroom, garage or shed. And remember that hair and pillow covers should be washed regularly to prevent pollen in your sleeping area, and provoking allergies and asthma.
When you feel allergy symptoms, keep these tips handy. Thanks to simple and natural solutions, I now love the summer, and you can, too.