31 Recommendations to Prevent Allergies in Your Home

There are several factors and elements that can aggravate or produce allergies at home. Read on to find out what they are and how to prevent them.
31 Recommendations to Prevent Allergies in Your Home
Leidy Mora Molina

Reviewed and approved by the nurse Leidy Mora Molina.

Last update: 24 November, 2022

Fighting allergies at home doesn’t mean only taking medication when you start experiencing symptoms. On the contrary, as in so many other situations in life, prevention is paramount. Read on and discover our recommendations to prevent allergies in your home.

In this sense, we must identify and then control the factors that could be related to an allergen, in any place and element of our home: curtains, sheets, furniture, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, plants, pets, etc.

The fight begins with cleaning, which is perhaps the most important thing, but it doesn’t stop there, and you have to pay attention to many details. In this article, we’ll provide you with a series of simple but powerful recommendations that you can take into account to prevent allergies at home.

Allergies and allergens

To prevent uncomfortable symptoms, such as a runny nose and even more dangerous situations (anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock), you need to stay away from the agent that produces the allergic reaction.

This factor, called an allergen, may be present in various elements and in different forms in our home, such as mold, dust, dust mites, and pollen. They can also lurk in damp walls, carpets and plants, in pet hair and dander, in bedding, and even in food.

Some people suffer from seasonal allergies, which increase at certain times of the year. However, many people live with the symptoms throughout the year, as they have the allergens at home.

Although it’s necessary, in some cases, to take antihistamines to reduce the symptoms, the best thing to do is to identify the triggering factors of our allergies and reduce contact with them. Therefore, the first thing to do is to visit an allergist.

This will clearly help us focus on what to do and where we need to direct the preventive measures we take to prevent allergies at home.

31 recommendations to prevent allergies at home

For those who live in places with a high rate of allergens, the task in hand may seem complicated. However, there’s no doubt that it’s possible to combat the factors that trigger allergies at home. Here are some recommendations that you can apply in your home.

Close the door to allergens

The hall.
Leave coats, shoes, and other items in the hallway to minimize contact with allergens, such as pollen.

Pollen particles or other allergens can adhere to shoes or clothing. It’s a good idea to place a carpet or doormat to clean the soles when entering or before entering.

Another option is to have an area to remove footwear and some clothes: jackets, hats, overcoats, and scarves; and leave them in a basket, until it’s time to wash them.

Prevent allergens from entering through the windows

In the season when pollen increases in the environment, keep the windows closed as much as possible, especially during the hours when there’s more pollen or more wind.

Keep humidity at bay

Mold and certain mites thrive in humid environments. Excess water vapor must be eliminated by keeping the relative humidity below 50%. An exhaust fan, other ventilation systems, or a dehumidifier can be used for this purpose.

Temperature controlled

Another factor contributing to dust mites and mold is heat, which in turn raises humidity. Ideally, the temperature should be kept under control, between 21°C and 24°C, by air conditioning systems.

Change air filters

In heating or cooling systems, HEPA (high-efficiency particle arresting) filters are recommended. However, they should be changed regularly, according to manufacturers’ specifications.

This, on the one hand, allows the equipment to continue to maintain its effectiveness in removing allergens from the air. On the other hand, studies have found that, if not changed frequently, the filter can become a source of microbes, which can even be incorporated back into the filtered air.

Ventilate the home

If the weather permits and the pollen count isn’t too high, some windows should be opened for a few minutes (5 to 15 minutes) to reduce the concentration of allergens in the air in the house. The recommendation is that the open windows or doors are on different or opposite sides, so that the air circulates.

Frequent cleaning

A woman cleaning a sofa.
Regular cleaning is essential to minimize allergies in the home.

Cleaning is your main ally to fight dust, mold, and dust mites. For this process to be effective, in order to help reduce allergies at home, you should take into account these recommendations:

  • Some spaces require more frequent cleaning, such as the living room, and others that have doors or windows facing the street.
  • Don’t shake the items, because you may ingest the dust, which will do more damage.
  • Use a microfiber cleaning cloth, which absorbs better.
  • If you’re going to dust, you should wear a mask or chinstrap because the idea is to keep the home clean, but without exposing yourself at the same time.
  • Also, wear gloves if you suffer from skin allergies.
  • Move the furniture close to the wall to clean all the corners.

Use of carpets

However showy and decorative they may seem, avoid using rugs and carpets. To reduce the chances of allergies at home, it’s preferable to have wood, tile, or granite floors. If this isn’t an option, use a short pile carpet or washable materials. Or if not, vacuum frequently.

Clean windows

Windows should be cleaned not only to avoid dust accumulation, but also mold from condensation, both in damp and cold places.

Curtains or blinds

Preferably, curtains shouldn’t be used, as they accumulate dust more easily. They can be replaced by washable blinds. If it isn’t possible to remove the curtains, plain cotton or synthetic fabrics are preferable to thick fabrics. And wash them often, at least once a week.

Objects that collect dust

Pictures, vases, picture frames, and many other things give your decoration a touch, but they are also dust collectors. It’s best not to have so many objects, to help prevent allergies at home. If you don’t want to get rid of all these items, including old magazines and so on, store them in a closet or in plastic containers.

Toys and stuffed animals

Toys, and especially stuffed animals, are items that accumulate dust, mold, and pet hair. Wash or clean them frequently and, when your children aren’t using them, place them in containers as well.

Books

Books can teach us many things. They’re our best allies. However, mites think so too. Don’t sleep with books in the room and make sure you read in a ventilated area.

Bedroom

We often spend more time in the bedroom than in other parts of the house. That’s why it’s important to make it an allergen-free environment. Let’s start by replacing curtains, removing carpets, and cleaning frequently. Of course, products with very strong odors should be avoided, as these can also cause allergies.

On the other hand, open and air closets, take out clothes, and wash them, even if you haven’t worn them. Clothes stored for a long time tend to develop mold.

Room air purifier

Consider purchasing a room filter or purifier. This is a good option for capturing dust particles and other airborne allergens. However, it can do nothing once the particles have settled on surfaces.

Bedding

A woman on a bed.
Choose anti-mite fibers for your bedding.

Preferably, use organic, non-synthetic fabrics, both in pillowcases and sheets and comforters. Don’t have feather pillows or wool blankets. Nowadays, bed linen is available, as well as protective covers for mattresses, which are anti-mite, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal.

Washing bed linen

Wash bed linen frequently, such as pillowcases and blankets. Use hot water, at least 50 °C. Dry in the sun, when possible. Also, remove protective covers and shake the mattress and pillows.

Furniture

For the bedroom, and for the whole house, avoid fabric upholstery. It is preferable to choose chairs, tables and other furniture with materials that are easy to clean: wood, metal or plastic.

House plants

There are so many positive things and so many benefits of having plants in the house. But if you’re allergic, it’s not good for them to be indoors. Find them a new home or move them to the garden or deck.

Furry pets and other animals

There’s nothing like a pet to brighten up your life. However, the hairs of dogs, cats, and other animals aren’t such good friends for allergy sufferers. The same goes for bird feathers.

You don’t have to make drastic decisions, such as finding them a new home, but you do have to keep them out of the bedroom and keep them groomed. Use a pet brush to help remove excess hair.

Smoke, moisture, and odors in the kitchen

One thing that helps to keep allergens from spreading around the house is the use of a stove hood. Not only does it prevent smoke and odors from spreading when you cook, but it also reduces moisture.

Scrubbing and drying dishes

When you scrub, the moisture level increases. Sometimes we splash around, leaving wet dishes behind. This is an ideal environment for dust mites and mold. Then, we must dry everything very well, including surfaces and drawers and, finally, clean the sink and even the faucets.

Cleaning the kitchen

Kitchen cleaning requires special attention. Take into account the following recommendations:

  • Don’t leave food leftovers anywhere
  • Clean the refrigerator regularly
  • Discard food that has been refrigerated for a long time
  • Store uncooked food in airtight containers

Garbage in its place

Take out the garbage daily. Don’t let it accumulate. Not only will you eliminate bad odors, but you’ll also avoid attracting mice, cockroaches, flies, and other vermin.

Moisture in the bathrooms

If there’s a damp place par excellence in the house, it’s the bathroom. We must prevent mold and mildew at all costs. To do so, take into account these suggestions:

  • In addition to the doors, open the windows in the bathroom (if it has any), in order to air it.
  • Install an extractor fan, which will help with both humidity and bad odors.
  • If there’s no outlet to the outside, consider using a dehumidifier.
  • Avoid using bath mats and curtains.
  • Don’t use wallpaper on the walls.
  • Paint with mildew-resistant enamel.
  • Don’t leave wet towels or wet clothes in the bathroom.

Cleaning bathrooms

Cleaning a bathroom.
Regular cleaning of the bathroom helps you to prevent allergies.

Clean the tiles, toilet, sink, shower area, and faucet parts thoroughly. Use a product that contains bleach. Dry everything well and keep it aired after cleaning.

Leaks and drips

You must be very attentive to leaks. Check pipes and walls near the bathroom and kitchen. Also, look at the roof and ceilings to make sure there are no leaks or seepage from upper floors.

If you see any, get them seen to. Also, check in corners and stairwells, behind furniture and shelves. You should do all you can to remove any moisture buildup so that mold and mildew don’t proliferate.

Fireplaces and stoves

It’s best to avoid fireplaces and wood-burning stoves. And if you don’t have a very open space, don’t barbecue, as smoke and other fumes make respiratory allergies worse.

Non-smoking area

Declare your home a non-smoking area. Don’t allow cigarettes inside. Remember that secondhand smoke doesn’t only expose passive smokers to allergies, but also to more serious respiratory illnesses, according to experts.

Food allergies

Allergies in the home can be triggered not only by dust or dust mites, but also by what we eat. Remember to check food labels to prevent reactions in people with intolerance to substances such as lactose or gluten.

Also, if anyone in your home suffers from any of these conditions, be careful with utensils and containers to reduce the risk of food cross-contamination.

Insect stings

As some people may experience reactions to bee stings or other insect bites, special precautions should be taken in times when they proliferate. Preferably, you should place mosquito netting on windows, apply repellents to your skin, and avoid using strong fragrances.

Preparing for allergies at home

Even in spite of all the precautions we can take, it’s still possible to come into contact with an allergen, thus triggering an outbreak or reaction.

Therefore, it’s advisable to be prepared to face allergies if necessary. In this sense, it’s always good to have medication on hand to reduce the symptoms, such as:

  • Antihistamines: loratadine, cetirizine or similar, as recommended by the allergist.
  • Nasal decongestants: cromoglycate or inhaled corticosteroid sprays; although the latter should be handled with care, because of their side effects.

Finally, for people with a propensity to suffer severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), epinephrine or adrenaline auto-injectors should be on hand.

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