Seasonal allergies make it hard to enjoy spring. Plus they can lead to more serious health conditions like a sinus infection. But making your home and your life a little more hypoallergenic isn’t complicated or costly. In fact, these five simple tips for conquering seasonal allergies might just surprise you.
Make friends with MERV
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) basically refers to how well your heating and cooling system filter traps airborne particles. Shoot for a MERV filter with a rating of 11 to 13 and change it monthly. Indoor humidity plays a big role in seasonal allergies, too. So keep it close to 50 percent, and turn on the exhaust fan when you’re showering or cooking to discourage mold and mildew. Houseplants like mums, peace lilies and dracaena are also natural air purifiers that are great for allergy sufferers. Just make sure to gently rinse them once a week or so to remove any dust or pollen that settles on their leaves.
Clear out the clutter
It almost goes without saying that frequent cleaning and dusting keeps allergens at bay, but cutting down on clutter gives pollen and dust fewer places to land. So look around your home for what might be collecting dust. If you don’t love it, give it away or sell it. Frequently purging your paper clutter will also give dust and allergens fewer places to park.
Wash and change frequently
Experts tell allergy sufferers to make their bedrooms allergy-free zones. But why not do this to your whole house? Start removing your shoes and changing your clothes as soon as you walk through the door. Then jump in the shower and rinse any pollen out of your skin and hair. Once you’re showered and changed, wash your clothes in hot water and dry them in the dryer – not outside where they’ll trap tons of pollen. Finally, if you use anti-allergy mattress and pillow covers, you can add an extra layer of protection from seasonal allergies by changing your pillow case each night.
Enjoy this, skip that
Lovers of Mediterranean food, rejoice! British scientists think that one reason Greek children don’t suffer from seasonal allergies is because of their diet, which contains lots of immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory foods. So load up on fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and nuts like they do. You might also pair your foods with some green tea, which contains powerful antioxidants that block histamines. Peppermint tea is also a great choice because it’s a natural decongestant. But definitely shun hot peppers because they contain capsaicin, which can trigger allergy symptoms. In addition, avoid these foods, and enjoy more of these.
Treat allergy symptoms proactively
Instead of waiting for allergy season to hit, talk to an MDLIVE doctor to help identify your allergens and allergy triggers. It’s often better to begin treating them proactively two weeks or so before you typically experience symptoms. This way you’re suppressing, rather than alleviating, your allergy symptoms. Plus you won’t have to leave home, so going to the doctor won’t expose you to pollens!