Yay! The flowers are blooming and temperatures are consistently above Brutal °C on a regular basis. But you know what else comes with my favourite season? Allergies; tons of ‘em. Early spring is when they start because the snow no longer covers the rotting debris on lawns and in gardens. We’re inhaling moulds from decomposing garden waste, and dust from stale indoor air—it’s a bad combo.
Now is the time to start protecting yourself against spring allergies, and following these tips will help:
There’s a good reason your grandma always waxed poetic about spring cleaning. We’ve been breathing recycled air for months, and it’s full of our grody dead skin cells, which are a delectable buffet for those dust mites causing so much suffering (Did you know it’s dust mite poop, and not the bugs themselves, that people are allergic to? Ew!) It’s time to clean those baseboards and tops of cupboards—all the places nobody really cleans, because the cleaner your indoor air, the better your symptoms will be. Spray everything down with this all-natural dust mite killer while you’re at it (I use it once a week on bedding, carpeting, stuffed animals, and draperies).
Wear a mask if you need to, but get that decomposing mess away from your house. The pollens and moulds in post-winter gardens wreak havoc on allergy sufferers.
CHANGE PILLOWS/CLEAN MATTRESS
Just like changing the batteries in your smoke alarms, changing pillows needs to be done seasonally, too. With all the skin and sweat in those things, it’s no wonder many allergy sufferers wake with a stuffed up nose. Avoid down, try a natural rubber pillow or an allergy-friendly one instead. Always use a mattress cover and be sure to vacuum your mattress regularly, too!
CLEAN THE AIR
A cool air humidifier will help keep air at the perfect level (allergens don’t typically survive under 30% humidity) and be sure to run a dehumidifier in the summer. HEPA air cleaners are a great idea, too. And be sure to open up the house and get fresh air inside, if it’s dust you’re allergic to (but avoid open windows if pollens pose problems!)
BOOST YOUR SYSTEM EARLY
Eating and exercising well helps boost your immune system and ward off allergies. Too much sugar, alcohol, and high-fat food make it really difficult for your body to defend itself, so there’s one more reason to get on the healthy eating wagon! Start in the late winter to get the full benefits by the time spring allergy seasons descends.
FLUSH THEM OUT
Your nose is the filter where allergens are trapped—it can be itchy, stuffy or runny thanks to allergies, but a nasal rinse will remove the allergens and help moisturize your nasal passages, lessening allergy symptoms.
CHANGE YOUR CLOTHES
Everything you walk through during your day sticks to your clothing. When you come inside, always remove shoes and change your clothes so you’re dust and pollen-free.
GET A GOOD VACUUM
This may be my number one tip. Contrary to popular belief, carpets aren’t the enemy of those with allergies. A new, well-cleaned carpet is actually great at keeping allergens like dust and dander on the ground, and not in the lungs of allergy sufferers. But they need to be deep cleaned properly, so it’s important to invest in a great vacuum with a HEPA filter.
SHOWER AT NIGHT
As with clothing, hair traps all kinds of allergens. Showering at night will help eliminate transferring allergens into your bed, and help you breathe better. Plus, hey, more time to sleep in the morning—bonus!
CHANGE YOUR FURNACE FILTER
Bid adieu to the winter dusties by changing your filter before your air conditioner starts circulating them around your nice, clean house. Take a good look at how dirty the old filter is, and appreciate just how little of that you’ve had to breathe in!
And really, when spring allergies get you down, pop an allergy pill. There are a number of options, so you may have to try a couple of different medications before you find the one that works best for you, but there’s no need to suffer!
Good luck this allergy season—may the odds be ever in your favour.