Friday, April 5, 2013


"April showers brings May flowers."

That sunny prose has been around since the dark ages and is a reminder of another season that lurks hand-in-hand with spring:  allergy season.

According to the National Institutes of Health the number of persons affected by allergies has increased two to five times since 1980.  This increase is being attributed to a number of factors including global warming, higher levels of pollution in industrialized nations, and better diagnosis of allergy conditions - just to name a few.

If you are one of the many people today who morph into frantic tissue-hoarders during the warmer allergy months, below are a few tips on "allergy-proofing" your personal castle aka your home:

  • Wash sheets, pillowcases and blankets at least once a week in water heated to at least 130 F (54 C). Remove, wash or cover comforters. Choose bedding made of synthetic materials.
  • Close windows and rely on air conditioning during pollen season. Clean mold and condensation from window frames and sills. 
  • If you have pets in your home,  give them a bath at least twice a week to help reduce the amount of allergen in the dander they shed.  
  • Wipe up excessive moisture in your refrigerator to avoid mold growth. Discard moldy or out-of-date food. Regularly empty and clean the drip pan and clean or replace moldy rubber seals around doors. 
  • Mold can be removed from surfaces and walls by using a solution of one part bleach to 20 parts water. Dead mold can still cause an allergic reaction, but bleach has been found to reduce the severity of the reaction in susceptible people. 
    False color scanning electron microscope image of pollen grains from a variety of common plants: sunflower, morning glory, prairie hollyhock, oriental lily, evening primrose and castor bean. 
  • Vacuum daily and use special carpet treatments that inactivate the accumulated allergens and reduce the dust mite population. Frequent vacuuming is needed to remove surface allergens from carpets, however many vacuums simply blow allergens into the air. Replace your standard vacuum bag with a high filtration multi-layer bag and add a vacuum exhaust filter.

Just following a few of these tips could lead to less sneezing and wheezing, and more time quietly relaxing with your perfect companion:  YOU!