Here are spring-cleaning tips to help allergy sufferers

Spring cleaning often stirs up dust and pet dander, and can leave a strong scent of cleaning supplies in the air. All can cause those with allergies to reach for a tissue and dread the task. But stirring up a little dust and dander is worth a few extra sneezes, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says in a news release, because a thorough spring cleaning will ultimately help you avoid allergy symptoms.

“Thoroughly cleaning your home can help eliminate allergens and keep new ones from easily entering,” James Sublett, president-elect of the ACAAI, said in Newswise, a research-reporting service.  “Allergy season can last all year for those sensitive to indoor allergens, but it can worsen in the spring months when pollen becomes an issue. It’s important to remove allergens from the home so you can lead a healthy and active lifestyle.”

The ACAAI  offers tips to remove allergens from your home as well as ways to prevent more from entering.

The best way to prevent allergens from building up in your home is to stay on top of certain chores, such as vacuuming regularly to get rid of dust mites using a cyclonic vacuum or HEPA filter, changing air filters every three months using filters with a MERV rating of 11 or 12, and washing bedding and stuffed animals weekly.

It is also important to resist the urge to open the windows as the weather gets warmer, because this lets unwanted pollen into the house.Those with allergies also have to be careful to avoid air fresheners and candles because chemicals in these items can spur asthma attacks.

A top allergen target in spring cleaning is mold, paying special attention to mold-prone areas like bathrooms, basements and tiled areas, says the release. Make sure bathroom fans are functioning and usable, and always make sure not to leave any standing water in these areas. Use detergent and water to remove any visible mold, and to prevent further mold from growing, keep the humidity in your house below 60 percent.

Because pets spend so much more time indoors over the winter, chances are there is an increased amount of fur, saliva and dander in your house. Remove these allergens by vacuuming frequently and washing upholstery, including your pet’s bed, the release says. Also, don’t allow your pet in your bedroom.

Those with allergies should avoid being outdoors in noonday and afternoon, because pollen counts are highest then. Wear gloves and a N95 pollen mask when mowing or gardening, and make sure to wash your hands, hair and clothing when finished. Also, make sure to take your medication before going outside.

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