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Allergies: Make a Clean Sweep
Spring cleaning is a great way to make a fresh start, but if you suffer from certain allergies, you may want to make deep cleaning a year-round affair.
According to Eric Sandberg, MD, an allergist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, two of the main indoor allergens are dust and animal dander. Debris from dust mites, which are tiny, microscopic organisms, can cause allergy symptoms. As for animals, the saliva on their fur as well as dander (dead skin cells) are the main culprits for allergens that can be found pretty much anywhere your pets like to spend time, such as carpets and furniture.
Frequent dusting and vacuuming of your home are key to keeping allergens at bay. 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 keeping the bedroom clean brings the most relief for the effort, since this is the room people spend the most time in.
Start by taking things out of the bedroom that can collect dust and dust mites, such as books and extra bed pillows. Also consider flooring that’s less likely to trap allergens.
“Area rugs are preferred over wall-to-wall carpet,” says Dr. Sandberg. “Not only can you vacuum them, but you can also take them outside and really clean them out. Wall-to-wall carpeting, on the other hand, tends to collect dust and allergens.”
Dust also accumulates in and around the bed and mattress, so be sure to vacuum or sweep the floor around the bed and consider dust mite covers for the mattress and bed pillows. Be sure to regularly wash all sheets, blankets, and pillowcases in hot water.
“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 or at least off your bed,” Dr. Sandberg advises.
This also pertains to your children’s furry friends. Since stuffed animals can collect allergens, consider keeping only one or two of them on your child’s bed, and be sure to wash them frequently in hot water.
“Keep it simple and do the best you can with what you have. See an allergist if you have allergy symptoms that do not respond well over time to over-the-counter or prescribed medications,” concludes Dr. Sandberg.
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