Spring Clean Your Allergy Symptoms Away

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you know how awful the sneezing, coughing, runny nose and sinus headaches can be. 

The primary culprits of seasonal allergies come from the outdoors: pollen from trees and grasses. However, there may be some indoor allergens lurking in dark corners that can cause a flare up of seasonal allergy symptoms. Mold and mildew spores tend to peak in the summer months and dust mites thrive in the forgotten dust under your family room sofa. 

As we say goodbye to winter, here are three easy tips on how to reduce allergens inside your home, so you can prepare ahead of time to avoid those pesky seasonal allergy symptoms that are about to knock on your door.

Tip 1: Dusting 101

Dust mites feast on the dust that lingers under furniture. They can be a key allergen in the home leading to those ever-so-familiar symptoms.  Conventional dusting can actually make things worse by spreading these allergens through the air, making it more likely for you to breathe them in and become agitated.

So re-think your dusting. A simple first step is to use a damp cloth that can trap and hold on to dust which has landed on household surfaces.  For an added level of allergen-prevention, you can invest in a high-quality vacuum cleaner with a certified HEPA filter. HEPA filters, which stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air, are specialized filters designed to catch and trap very fine particles like pollen and dust mite allergens.

For an added level of protection, you can even find specialized bedsheets and pillow covers that are specially designed to prevent dust mite allergens. These sheets can seal away dust mite allergens that may have accumulated on your bedding. It’s no wonder you’ve been waking up with itchy eyes and a scratchy throat!

Pollen release by trees tends to peak between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.  You can proactively reduce the accumulation of pollen from the outdoors from coming in and collecting on furniture, floors, and banisters by closing your windows during these peak pollen times.

Tip 2: Do Away with Dastardly Detergents

Many household cleaners are packed with unpronounceable ingredients that can actually make allergy symptoms worse.

When shopping for your detergents or dryer sheets, be wary of synthetic dyes, fragrances and perfume. The pleasant, refreshing aroma your clothes give off after a fresh wash is actually the result of chemical irritants that can trigger allergies and migraines. Other chemicals often found on the labels of these products include chlorine,  a skin irritant and phosphates, which promote algal blooms that kill aquatic life.

For a natural take on laundry detergent, try making your own!

Re-use an old laundry soap container and blend the following ingredients (Use ½ cup for a full load):

Natural laundry detergent 

  • 2 litres hot water
  • 2 tbsp coarse salt
  • 6 tbsp baking soda
  • 6 tbsp liquid castile soap
  • Dissolve dry ingredients in hot water. Add soap and stir.

For more natural recipes for a green spring cleaning, click here.

Tip 3: Prevent Symptoms Before They Start With Quercetin

Seasonal allergies are all about inflammation caused by your immune system over-reacting to pollen, dander or mold spores. This is what leads to the runny nose, itchy eyes, headache and tight chest.  Largely, these symptoms are caused by the release of histamine in the body. 

 

Quercetin, an anti-inflammatory phytonutrient, is a promising new tool in helping to prevent seasonal allergy symptoms before they start. This plant pigment, found in apples, red onions, broccoli and berries, can help to decrease inflammation by reducing the release of histamine in the body.  This can help to decrease the production of chemicals called cytokines that overexcite your immune system.

You can also find quercetin as a supplement at your local CHFA Member health food store. A recent study of subjects with seasonal allergies found that supplementing with quercetin reduced 70 per cent of their symptoms and nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of subjects reduced their intake of over-the-counter anti-allergy medications.

This spring, take the sting out of spring allergies by starting inside your home. Revisit your cleaning routine, opt for an allergen-free natural detergent or add quercetin to your spring arsenal and enjoy the great indoors!