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6 tips from a doctor on reducing allergens in your home

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Allergy sufferers know all too well that this allergy season is the worst in recent years, not only by the facts and figures like the pollen count, but also by all the runny noses and itchy eyes.

But beware, allergens aren’t just limited to the outdoors. Airborne allergens like pollen can infiltrate your home, making your symptoms a 24/7 ordeal.

Nonetheless, there is hope. We talked to Dr. Maria Castells, an allergist and immunologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and she offered six tips to reduce allergens within your home.

1. Close your window until the afternoon.

There’s nothing quite like falling asleep with a summer night breeze to keep you cool, but those breezes can make for a congested morning.

“The minute the spring is here and the temperatures are higher, the pollen will be airborne from 4 a.m. to 12 or 1 p.m., and having the pollen enter the bedroom isn’t a good idea,” Castells said.

Castells recommended using an air conditioner on warm nights.

2. Use an air purifier.

It goes without saying that an air purifier is a must for those with spring allergies. Castells said it will clean the air of airborne pollen particles and mold spores that will inevitably make it into your home, but it won’t do much to get rid of the allergens that have already settled onto surfaces like rugs and carpets.

3. Eliminate decor that collects dust.

Castells recommends simply getting rid of rugs and carpet altogether. Pollen and mold spores can settle into the fibers and irritate allergies, she said. “Avoid keeping things that get very dusty.”

4. Vacuum, especially the bedroom.

If you can’t part with your rug or carpet, vacuuming is a useful alternative. Focus on cleaning the bedroom,  Castells recommended, because that is where people tend to spend most of their time. 

5. Dust.

Getting rid of pollen, mold spores, and dust mites can be as simple as using a moist cloth, with or without cleaning agents. Castells suggested using a wet cloth, so you pick up the pollen instead of whisking it into the air, making matters worse.

6. Keep pets out of your bedroom.

After playing outside during peak pollen activity, pets can carry allergens not only into your home, but into your bedroom and bed, Castells said.

Want to keep you pets from collecting pollen in their fur? Castells recommended taking them out for a walk or to play in areas that don’t have a lot of plants or trees after 4 p.m., when the pollen settles and is no longer airborne.

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