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Best Ways to Reduce Household Allergens

Allergies getting the best of you? You might be surprised at how much better you’ll feel if you address these seven key areas:

1) Flooring: Carpeting is a gathering place for allergens of every kind. Wherever possible, replace carpeting with vinyl, wood, tile, or some other type of smooth flooring. If you have throw rugs with high pile, replace them with washable, low pile options. If you’re stuck with carpeting, vacuum weekly at bare minimum, and clean them regularly (see manufacturer recommendations).
2) Bedding: You spend a lot of time in your bed, and while you’re asleep, allergens have lots of time to affect your body. Cover your mattress and pillows with covers that are dust mite- proof. Wash all bedding at least once per week in hot water. For the best protection, use pillows and bedding that are made of synthetic materials rather than feathers and wool.
3) Air quality: Open windows are an open invitation for allergens. Although an air conditioning system might be costly up front, the long-term health benefits of keeping windows closed when pollens and other allergens are most prevalent could be well worth the investment. For some added protection, purchase a HEPA filter that will constantly filter the air in your home. You can also purchase a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. In addition to filtering your air, maintaining low humidity is important in order to prevent mold infestations.
4) Pests: Household pests, such as mice and cockroaches, can greatly contribute to allergens in your home. Several types of DIY traps and repellants are available, but if you’ve got a serious problem and serious allergies, hiring a professional pest exterminator might be worth the investment.
5) Window coverings and furniture: Choose window coverings that can be washed regularly, and furniture upholstered in anything but fabric. If you simply must have furniture that’s upholstered in fabric, consider furniture with washable slipcovers.
6) General cleanliness: Regular cleaning in all areas of your home will reduce collections of allergen-rich dust and grime, mold, pet dander, and anything else that might agitate allergies. In addition, decluttering and decorating with a minimalist style will reduce areas where dust and other allergens can collect and cause problems.
7) Pets: As much as we love our pets, they are often the number one cause of allergies. Some animals and certain breeds are less likely to cause allergic reactions than others, so do your research if you’re considering getting a pet.

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