Are you sneezing a lot lately? Are your eyes watering and is it getting harder for you to breathe? These are symptoms of an allergic reaction and can be relieved with medication. But whatever happened to that ounce of prevention? The key is to identify what is causing the stuffy nose and the headache and do something about the irritants. For all you know, you could be harboring allergy triggers right inside your condo.
Your home is your refuge unless of course you are allergic to it. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, over half of Americans test positive for at least one allergen while a UK survey revealed that 12 million Britons have suffered allergies caused by dust mites. Wherever you are in the world, you are not free from these pesky allergens especially if you keep inviting them in and do not know a thing about how to allergy-proof your home. Never be afraid of your condo ever again with these tips:
Dust it off
Running a healthy home always starts with the obvious — clean up. Clean surfaces and floors with treated dust rags and damp mops. Using damp cloth is a helpful tip in cleaning your condo because dry cloth or feather duster will just fling the allergens back into the air and around the house.
Don’t forget to clean your condo furniture, too, especially your soft couch. Use a hand-held vacuum to scoot out all crumbs and dust off your couch. Living in a condo might make getting through and moving furniture around more difficult because of the small living space but don’t leave any piece unturned or this will pose more health hazards along the way.
Wash those linens and beddings
Most ways to allergy-proof your condo require a lot of washing and laundry. It is advisable to use washable beddings instead of those fancy quilts and wool blankets. Wash your sheets and pillowcases weekly. Do the same with throw pillow covers and other washable linens you use around the house.
Cover up for a good night sleep
We spend a lot of time in bed and we want superior comfort when we call it a day. Allergens have no place in the bedroom. Cover your mattress and pillows with dust mite covers.
Keep it cool and dry
Mold and dust mites thrive in very humid and moist environments. Microbiologist Larry Arlian found that in order to keep allergens away, relative humidity must be kept below 50%. How do you do this? You may need to use air conditioner along with a dehumidifier or get one of those gauges called hygrometer to track humidity level. House plants are also known to reduce humidity levels.
Fresh air in, allergens out
If humidity is not a problem in your area, ventilating your home by opening windows and doors can help blow away pollutants and allergens. If you are allergic to pollens that might come through the window, there are pollen-proof screens that you can install.
Mind the mold
Mold from moisture often accumulate in the bathroom after showering and in the kitchen after cooking. Clear the air by letting the extractor fan running for at least 15 minutes after bath, and make sure that all surfaces are clean after cooking. Also, don’t forget to scrub refrigerator drip pans as they are a common source of mold. It is best to go for all natural cleaning alternatives for your condo like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon.
Go easy on the rugs
If you know you are sensitive to dust mites, molds, and other home allergens or is living with one, it is best to go with hardwood, tiles, or linoleum flooring. However, if you think it is necessary for your floor to have that soft touch, go for washable rugs. And don’t surround yourself with too many rugs in every room or corner and settle for a few ones instead.
Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting
One more thing to remember if you must have carpets is to avoid going wall-to-wall. For some reason, dirt has a way of getting into the hardest-to-reach corners. But if this is already the case, frequent vacuuming is a must. Vacuum at least once a week and combine it with low humidity to lower the allergy levels. Get a vacuum with a HEPA filter that can trap the tiniest of particles.
Smells nice? Think again
Scented candles and oils, air fresheners, and aerosols may smell really nice but use these products sparingly. Smelly fumes can irritate your airways and make your allergies worse. Avoid using harsh products, too, when cleaning. Practicing green cleaning tips in your condo will make you run a low-odor household that is free from chemicals and irritants.
Don’t forget the filters
Regularly clean and replace filters as specified by manufacturers. Dirty air filters in your cooling and heating systems reduce air quality that can aggravate asthma and allergies. They also make the fan motor work harder, thus, consuming more energy.
Use two welcome doormats
It is not so common in condo living to ask guests to remove their shoes when they enter your home. The next best thing is to lay down two doormats in the entryway — one outside and another one inside. That way, you keep outdoor irritants from making their way inside your condo. Having “indoor slippers” near the entryway for each family member will also help to avoid the spread of allergens.
Not so pretty decorations
If you are working to allergy-proof your home, avoid ceramic figurines, wicker baskets, and plastic flowers as they accumulate dust easily. Minimalist designs are the way to go for condos in the Philippines. It’s not only space-saving and stylish, it is also healthier.
Ditch fancy curtains
Fabric window treatments trap more allergens than blinds and shades. However, if curtains fit your style more, go for the machine-washable kind or those usually made of cotton or synthetic fabric. Roller-type shades are also good.
Limit the furry, cuddly friends
Are there piles and stacks of stuffed toys in your child’s bed? It’s time to limit them to one or two favorites as these can easily accumulate dust. Wash your kid’s cuddly friends in 130 degrees F water once a week. Another expert advice is putting them in a plastic bag and into the freezer for a few days.
What about the furry pet?
It is best to give your pet his own space in the house but if you want your pet to freely roam around, at least keep him away from the bedroom where linens, sheets, and clothes are. Bathe your pet regularly and use allergy-friendly pet shampoo. Scrub off his food bin to keep molds from forming.
Cleaning your condo and making it allergy-free is fairly easy. The key is to make allergy-busting a part of your routine and be faithful to it. Do not underestimate dust mites and molds for they can really make you fear your own home.