For some, the irritation is minor. For others, it can be unbearable, even
debilitating enough to cause absence from work or school. No matter your
allergic condition – outdoor, indoor, seasonal, or year-round –
try implementing these allergen-busting tricks in your home to get some relief.
Monitor humidity levels and dehumidify
Air humidity levels have an enormous impact on allergen levels. And even
allergy sufferers living in drier climates may be able to benefit from
carefully monitoring their home's humidity and dehumidifying when
Photo by Claudio Matsuoka
Two major allergens can be eliminated through humidity control: mold and
dust mites. If your home's air supply has a humidity level of over
50%, then these two allergic irritants will grow and reproduce quickly.
Hygrometers (instruments for measuring humidity) can be purchased for less
than the cost of a 5-pack of generic antihistamine at your local hardware
store or megamart. Once you get an accurate reading of your home's
humidity, you'll need to decide whether or not to dehumidify. As mentioned,
a reading of 50% and up means you should invest in a dehumidifier.
If your home has a crawlspace, don't forget to measure humidity there as well.
Purchase an air purifier
For allergens that can't be curtailed by dehumidification, an air purifier
is an invaluable tool. While it is true that certain furnace filters can
be used to reduce allergens, having a dedicated appliance is best for
those with chronic allergies.
When shopping for a purifier, skip over the cheapie models by brands like
Sharper Image, and go straight for a device manufactured by a reputable
air purification brand. Coway, Alen, and RabbitAir are all choice brands.
Seek out a model with capabilities to match the severity of your allergies.
Some models can more efficiently remove certain contaminants than others,
so research them carefully before making a buying decision.
In addition to these suggestions, be sure to remember the more basic rules
of allergy symptom reduction, such as closing windows, encasing bedding,
and bathing after exposure. Combined with over-the-counter medication,
many sufferers are able to use these tips to significantly reduce their
symptoms. However, if you find that your symptoms aren't improved
by medication or exposure limitation, you should consider visiting an
allergist for detailed testing and treatment. With a guidance of a physician,
even the most severe symptoms can typically be alleviated.