Warmer weather is on the way, bringing with it the misery of hay fever. But what if you are not a hay fever sufferer, yet find yourself constantly suffering from colds and sniffles, watery eyes and headaches? It may be your house that’s the culprit and you need ways to deal with allergies in the home.
Getting a proper diagnosis of these conditions seems to be a rather hit and miss affair with the general recommendation, at least from our local GP, being to invest in antihistamines such as Piriton or nasal sprays like Beconeze and do what you can to minimise the symptoms.
But there are steps you can take around the house which might help to minimise your suffering – and making your home cleaner and fresher at the same time.
I asked some fellow allergy sufferers what steps they take to minimise their allergies in the home.
Lianne at Anklebiters Adventures won’t have aerosol sprays in the house because she says they make her nasal allergies worse.
Katie Mai-Lyn of Ever After With Kids suggests investing in a really powerful dehumidifier with an ioniser. “It has done wonders for my whole family,” she says “it essentially removes dust and allergens from the air, absolute must have item for us now!”
Hayley of Very Mummy has had to take steps to help her daughter cope with terrible eczema. “We have no carpets (tiles throughout) and we hoover twice a day. My daughter has anti-allergy bedding, bottles of antihistamine, her own laundry detergent and softener and we use a humidifier to keep the air moist as dry cold air makes her chest bad. She has food allergies as well so we have created a section in the kitchen for her safe foods and preparation area.”
Emma of The Money Whisperer trusts in her Himalayan Salt Lamps which she has in all her bedrooms. “I have them on from around 6pm until we go to bed”, she says.
Sophie of Sophie And Lily says that she and her husband have noticed their allergies have increased massively since moving to a busy city full of dockyards and cruise ship terminals. Says Sophe: “Apart from leaving which isn’t an option, we no longer have any form of fresh cut flowers in the house and none in our garden. House plants are fine though so we get to appreciate the greenery. We have removed old carpet and vacuum regularly. I also dash past any daffodils because I end up with a rash and swollen throat. Not much I can do about them either!”
Here are some other suggestions which might help. Most of then center around keeping your accommodation as dust free as possible because dust, and dust mites, can be a major cause of allergies.
Anti-allergy bedding generally means pillows, duvets and bed protectors that are resistant to dust mites. Bedding may have been treated with anti-dust mite and anti-fungal coatings as a deterrent, or made from tightly woven materials so that they are impenetrable to dust mites.
Wood flooring can not only look nicer I think, but it’s also easier to clean and more durable – particularly when you have kids. You can also cover a wood floor with rugs – again easier to clean than carpet.
Window blinds can be an easier option than curtains which will collect dust and need washing or dry cleaning. I would suggest roller blinds rather than venetian blinds which tend to be dust traps in my experience.
If like me, you love throws and cushions, you may find you have to ration them, or at least make sure you regularly launder their covers. You may also have to forego fabric lampshades in favour of metal / glass fittings.
In the average draught proofed, warm home, there are likely to be plenty of dust mites living in carpets, beds and upholstery.
You may have been advised to vacuum and dust daily but if you use an ordinary vacuum cleaner and a dry duster, you may be breathing in more allergens as they are churned out by the machine and made airborne by the dusting.
In fact, doctors regularly note an increase in patients’ symptoms after recommending frequent vacuuming cleaning!
To avoid this, look for a vacuum cleaner which has HEPA air filtration which will help eliminate allergens which can cause allergies, asthma and eczema to flare up. If you have pets, you want one that is powerful enough to pick up pet hair.
And on the subject of our furry friends, if you are an allergy sufferer you should take that into consideration when choosing a pet.
We know that avoiding pollen is sensible if we are an allergy sufferer but you don’t have to avoid house plants altogether. Peace Lilies and Gerbera Daisies are just to to consider.
The symptoms allergies bring can make you very miserable indeed but by taking active steps to identify the possible triggers within your home and removing them one by one, you can make small improvements which may make things slightly more bearable.