In Toronto, allergy season is actually two seasons: first in spring, and then in the late summer and fall when plants like ragweed mature.
In spring the usual culprits is pollen from tree and grasses. That doesn’t include irritants in your home that may cause you to suffer from allergy-like symptoms. If so, you’re one of the unluckly ones who consider allergy season a year-round ordeal.
During these times, the air (indoors and out) is full of nasty particles that can annoy you to the point of madness, and these irritants may even aggravate asthma. In fact, more than 60 percent of people with asthma also suffer from allergies.
For allergy sufferers, an attack can feel like a really bad cold. You can have itchy eyes, nose and mouth, and even have difficulty breathing. This makes dealing with even the simple tasks of everyday life a huge struggle.
But there is hope: you can take control of your environment (at least, in your own home) to minimize your suffering. This is especially important to ensure you get relief at night so you can sleep.
So what are some of the most common allergens and irritants you’ll want to find allergy relief for? They include:
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
- Tobacco smoke
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
This article will give you ideas on seasonal allergy treatments for these irritants. Just a word of caution before we begin, however: If new allergy or other symptoms appear after trying these techniques or your current symptoms get worse, you should consult your family doctor.
The biggest trigger for spring allergies is pollen from trees, grasses and weeds. This pollen can travel for miles on the wind, so it’s not just about the plants and trees in your neighbourhood.
Here are some things you can do for allergy relief from pollen:
- Stay inside if you can when the pollen count is very high, usually during the mornings. Exercise when the pollen counts are lower in the afternoons.
- Keep your doors and windows closed during the spring.
- Wash your hair after you you’ve been outside, as allergens can collect in it.
- Pollen can also be carried indoors by pets.
- Vacuum your home twice a week. Be sure to wear a mask as you do so, so you’re not breathing in the pollen, mould and dust that’s being kicked up from your floor.
- Try oral antihistamines to relieve your symptoms. The downsides are that some of these medication have side effects such as drowsiness, and only last for a few hours.
- Get an air purifier. You’ll be better off with a whole-home system because small, stand alone air purifiers will keep you confined to just one room.
- Clean your home’s air filters as often as you can. Having your ducts cleaned in your home may help, too. This can be done every few years.
2. Dust Mites
Dust allergies are a common occurrence in within homes, usually caused by things such as dust mites in the air and on your pets. There are a few remedies for this allergy:
- Get rid of wall-to-wall carpets, especially in the bedroom.
- Keep pets out of the bedroom, and out of the house if you can.
- Reduce your household’s humidity. While keeping a high humidity level may bring you natural allergy relief, it can also attract dust mites. Keep the humidity between 35 and 50 percent is optimal.
- Use “mite-proof” cases on pillows and mattresses. Wash your bed linens in hot water frequently.
- Install a high-efficiency media filter in your air conditioning and furnace unit.
Mould allergies are very similar to the symptoms of other allergies, so this might be a tough one to spot. However, this type of allergy can occur year-round in your home, so if you have mould, you may be suffering from this. Remedies for this type of allergy include:
- Limit the time you spend outside when outdoor mould counts are high in the summer.
- As with dust mites, keep the humidity levels in your home low.
- Keep your house clean, especially your bathroom. Use an open window or exhaust fan in your bathroom to keep the humidity out. Watch for mould in your kitchen including in refrigerator drip pans, door seals and garbage pails.
- Keep old bedding, papers and clothes that you may be storing in the basement in an airtight, waterproof container.
- Fix leaky pipes and faucets right away, and mop any water off your floors, so that mould won’t form.
- Keep your home’s foundation dry, and rake leaves from around the base of your home. Ensure that rainwater can drain quickly away from your home.
- Consider buying a whole-home air conditioning unit that uses HEPA (high effficiency particulate air) filters. Remember that standalone units will only treat one room in your home, and they may be noisy.
4. Pet Dander
If you have a runny nose, watery eyes or start sneezing right after petting a dog or cat, you may have a pet allergy. However, you can get treatment for these allergy symptoms by:
- Simply avoid being around dogs and cats. If this is not possible because you have a pet at home, try to limit your exposure to it as much as you can.
- You can try nasal sprays, antihistamines and bronchodilators to alleviate symptoms. Regarding nasal sprays: if the problem is serious, you may need a prescription from your doctor.
- Think about getting an allergy shot. While this may provide relief, you should know that allergy shots can take a fair bit of time to work, they can be expensive if you don’t have insurance, and have side effects including increased anxiety (especially in children), and can cause rashes.
- Again, a HEPA filtration system may be helpful at keeping dander on a leash.
5. Tobacco Smoke
Even if you don’t smoke, you may have an allergy to tobacco smoke -- though it may be tough to identify, again because the symptoms are as common as other allergies. Still, there are a few things worth trying if you’re around someone who smokes.
- Medication can be given to ease the inflammation in air passages. This can include asthma medication such as bronchodilators that help clear out your airways.
- If the smoking is happening in your home, consider buying HEPA filters for your whole home system. They will remove virtually all of the harmful particles in cigarette smoke.
The best remedy is, of course, to stay away from places where someone is smoking.
6. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Do you have itchy, watery eyes? It may be due to exposure to VOCs. These compounds are found in everything from carpeting to household chemical products. There are a few things you can do to treat or reduce your exposure to VOCs:
- User safer cleaners, such as gentler, unscented products. Powerful cleaners have VOCs in them. On that note, don’t use chemical carpet cleaners, either. They contain solvents almost the same as those used in dry cleaning. Better yet, get rid of the carpets if you can. Carpets and the glue that fixes them to the floor all contain VOCs.
- If you plan on renovating your home, consider using products such as low or no-VOC paint.
- Avoid using stain guards on new couches as they contain these compounds..
- When you’re using a product that contains VOCs, open a window.
- Consider getting a HEPA filter, too, for your home as they’re powerful enough to remove most of these compounds.
Contact Husky for a Better Air Experience
Now that you know some of the remedies for spring and fall allergies, consider getting a system that will offer allergy relief in your home.
Husky has products ranging from HEPA filtration systems to duct cleaning services that will have you breathing fresh air once again. To learn more, be sure to contact us today for your free quote.