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Focus on the Bedroom When Spring Cleaning for Allergies

According to Eric Sandberg, M.D., an allergist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, it’s also especially important for those who suffer from allergies.

“Of course, we all look forward to the benefits of spring cleaning,” Dr. Sandberg says, “but if you are an allergy sufferer, it’s important to make regular cleaning a year-round affair.”

According to Dr. Sandberg, two of the main indoor allergens are dust and animal dander. Debris from dust mites, which are tiny microscopic organisms, can cause irritation.

Pets can also be a problem for people with allergies, with the saliva on their fur and dander (dead skin cells) being the main culprits. Animal dander can be found where your pets like to go – in carpets, furniture and around beds.

Keeping your home dusted and vacuumed are key. Cutting down on clutter is also a great starting point, since it means fewer places for dust and allergens to accumulate. For most allergy sufferers, focusing on the bedroom brings the most relief for the effort. So start there and focus on keeping things simple.

That means taking books, paper and other clutter to another room and minimizing pillows and bolsters on the bed, Dr. Sandberg explains.

“Area rugs are preferred over wall-to-wall carpets,” says Dr. Sandberg. “Not only can you vacuum them, you can take them outside and really clean them out. Wall-to-wall carpeting has a tendency to collect dust and allergens.”

Dust accumulates in and around the bed and mattress, so vacuum well here. Also be sure to wash all sheets, blankets and pillow cases in hot water. Dust-allergic patients should also invest in dust mite covers for the mattress and pillows.

“We all love our pets, so it’s tempting to have them in the bedroom, but if you have allergies, I suggest having them stay in another room,” Dr. Sandberg advises. “And if your child suffers from allergies, limit the stuffed animals on the bed to two or three."

If your child has more than a couple stuffed animals, keep them in another room, and wash the ones in the bedroom frequently with the sheets in hot water.

“Keep it simple and do the best you can do with what you have. See an allergist if you have nasal allergy symptoms that do not respond well over time to medicines prescribed or suggested by your primary care physician,” concludes Dr. Sandberg.

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Eric Sandberg, MD

​I believe both the patient and doctor need to communicate about the basic mechanisms behind the medical problems that we face. A deeper understanding often allows a more productive discussion of options and provides the motivation for applying treatments in the most effective manner.