Allergies are on the rise, with allergy triggers ranging from irritating to life-threatening. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), 50 million people report suffering from nasal allergies, and asthma and other allergic diseases are among the top five chronic diseases in the U.S. alone.
If you, or someone you know, have allergies, then you’ll want to read our 12 allergy life hacks by and for allergy sufferers and parents of children with allergies.
1. Wash New Clothes Before You Wear Them
You don’t know where your new clothes have been before they came into your possession, but you can be relatively sure that they’ve been exposed to some allergens, whether it’s natural dander and pollen or VOCs and chemicals that can ramp up your allergy symptoms. Always make sure to wash new clothes and bedding before use to ensure that you’re not introducing these potential triggers into your home or onto your skin.
2. Toss Your Clothes in the Wash as Soon as You Get Home
Washing worn clothes upon returning home helps avoid introducing potential outside allergens into your home environment. It’s a great habit to develop particularly for seasonal allergy sufferers during the height of allergy season. Your clothes may trap airborne particles — dander, pollen and other microscopic particles — that may trigger allergies.
3. Shower Before Bed
Similar to washing new clothing and worn clothing, showering before going to bed can reduce allergens in your controlled environment. This practice decreases the likelihood of your skin and hair transferring allergy particles into your bed.
4. Give Natural Remedies a Go
Alternating your regular allergy meds with all-natural allergy remedies is a great way to help combat stubborn symptoms between doses. Some tried-and-true, natural allergy-busters include local honey — local honey is full of local pollen and may help reduce pollen sensitivity in your area over time — as well as peppermint oil. Here’s a recipe for peppermint and honey tea for sweet, soothing allergy relief between medical treatments.
5. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is a practical rule for overall health, but it can also help you combat seasonal allergies. Drinking lots of water flushes the body of foreign substances, including allergens, which circulate in your body and cause allergy symptoms. Stay healthy and hydrated with two liters of water (or a half gallon) per day.
6. Eat Spicy Foods
If you’re not a big spice-lover, you might want to give it another go. Foods like chili peppers and hot sauce can help clear your nasal passages so you can breathe easier without having to take a decongestant. Opt for a spicy meal at your local Chinese or Indian restaurant, or pepper some high-heat hot sauce and peppers throughout your home-cooked meals for an added dose of drainage!
7. Change Your Air Filters Often
Those with extreme allergies may need to change the air filters throughout their home more regularly than others. Typically, we recommend changing your filters at least once every three months.
However, during spring and other allergy seasons, consider changing your home and car’s filters at least once per month. If you love to keep your home’s windows open, make sure to invest in some window filters that keep out dust, pollen, and other allergens so that you can breathe fresh air without triggering your allergies.
8. Decongest On-The-Go
Take your nasal decongestant with you, even if you’re just running a few errands. Before you leave the house, make sure to take your prescription or OTC allergy dosage and treat flare-ups as needed with your preferred nasal spray. If you forget, grab a spicy snack.
9. Try an Allergy Cleaning Spray
Nowadays, there are specific anti-allergy cleaning solutions available that are uniquely designed to help target and eradicate specific allergens, including dust mite feces, pet dander, and other triggers. You can use an allergy spray on your hard surfaces as well as carpeting, upholstery, rugs, draperies, pillow cases, and fabrics to help eliminate these pesky allergens.
10. Try an MCS Air Purifier
Unlike standard air purifiers, multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) air purifiers are specifically designed to help treat those with MCS. They can also aid in curbing exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), smoke, solvents, perfumes, and other petrochemicals that can pollute indoor air and worsen allergy symptoms.
11. Invest in a HEPA Vacuum
HEPA vacuum cleaners use high-efficiency filters that are designed to effectively trap the micron-sized particles in the air that can trigger your allergy symptoms. Sweeping with a HEPA vacuum every 1-3 days can effectively trap up to 99.97 percent of airborne particles larger than 0.3 microns, including pollen, dander, dust mites, household dust, and more.
12. Deep Clean
We all dread it, but it’s important not to underestimate the importance of a deep spring cleaning. You’ll want to thoroughly scrub your house from top-to-bottom, focusing on getting rid of any household dirt and dust while targeting mold, mildew, and dust mites.
If possible, invest in a seasonal air duct cleaning through a local company. Regular duct cleaning can remove significant levels of pollen, pet dander, and other microbes that can accumulate in your home and affect your allergies.
Do you or a family member have allergies? What tips did we miss?
Contributed by Julia Hausen: Julia is the mother of two allergy-suffering boys. She began blogging as a way to help her family cope and as a way to connect with other parents. You can see more of her work at Achoo!Blog.