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Allergy-Proof Your Home This Spring

Don’t be fooled by that little bit of snow still unmelted in the shadiest part of your yard.

Spring is here! Get out there and enjoy this region’s mild temps and blooming fauna but don’t bring the great outdoors back into your sanctuary.

Here are six tips for allergy-proofing your home:

  1. Allergy-Proof Your Bed. Zip on protective covers (available at most home stores) for mattresses and pillows. This will prevent allergens from setting up camp, from whence they can emerge in the middle of the night to ensure you wake up itchy and red-eyed.
  1. Allergy-Proof Yourself.  That green dust that is covering your car is also on your hair and clothes when you come in from an outdoor adventure. If you sit on upholstered furniture, go to bed, or walk on your carpet, the pollen will transfer to your home’s soft surfaces where it can dig in and stay indefinitely. First thing when you get home, remove your shoes (and encourage guests to do the same), shower that sticky stuff off your body and out of your hair, and don some “inside only” comfortable clothes and slippers.
  1. Clean Your Home Regularly. Pollen is sneaky stuff. Even if you shower and change after every outdoor excursion, some of it will get in through open windows and doors or be carried in by guests or less careful family members. Dust, sweep, mop and vacuum regularly. Consider upgrading to a vacuum to one with a HEPA filter, which traps allergens. If you’re the family sneezer, wear a dust mask, let household members without allergies handle the dustiest projects, or hire a cleaning service.
  1. Keep Carpeting and Drapes to a Minimum. These things are dust and pollen magnets. A good flooring contractor or window covering expert can show you a wide variety of non-fabric and non-fiber products to fit just about any style or budget.
  1. Upgrade and replace HVAC air filters. The higher your filter’s MERV rating (minimum efficiency reporting value), the better it is at catching pollutants, pollen included, before they’re circulated through your system. A MERV rating of 16 is ideal for this purpose. For maximum filtration and efficiency of your HVAC unit, make sure you replace the filter every 30–60 days, even if filter packaging says it lasts longer.
  1. Increase attic and crawlspace ventilation. Vent fans, ridged vents on your attic’s soffits, and dehumidifier units in the basement will keep air flowing in the hot sticky months to come while inhibiting the growth of mold, a common allergen. Be sure to hire licensed electricians, roofers and other professionals for proper installation.

If you have seasonal allergies, these few simple steps can make your spring “sunshine and flowers” instead of “itching and sneezing.”

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