Tired of suffering every spring from that onslaught of pollen? Reducing allergens in your home will help greatly with your symptoms and keep them from developing into a full-on cold.

It has been well documented that Oklahoma City is one of the top five “worst spring allergy cities” in America. In fact, last year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked OKC number three on the list of “challenging” places to live for allergy sufferers. While there are several ways (both medical and homeopathic) to help alleviate symptoms for dealing with the outdoors, there are also some proactive steps that you can take to keep the indoor allergens at bay. Though pollen, (especially Mountain Cedar pollen), is the main culprit in the spring, mold, dust mites and insects are indoor allergy triggers year round.

Here is a practical list on how to improve your indoor air quality and keep allergy triggers from making you miserable.

  • Close Windows and Doors – During allergy season, make sure that you keep the house shut – especially during the morning when allergens are at their peak. Mold and pollen spores can easily travel through screens, so try to keep the air conditioning on to cool the home. You’ll also want to make sure that window frames are free from condensation – which can create mold.
  • Keep Low Humidity Levels – A humid home can be a breeding ground for mold and other airborne allergens. Try to keep the indoor temperature around 72 F and the humidity level at 50% or below.
  • Pest Control – If you have a rodent problem, call an exterminator (or set traps) to get rid of them. Rodents and bugs are both allergy triggers and should be dealt with immediately. Make sure to thoroughly vacuum carpets and clean all the hard surfaces of your home once they are gone.
  • Change Air Filters – A typical air filter should be changed once a month if you have pets – or during the seasons when your HVAC is running constantly. But if you suffer from indoor allergies, you should make an effort to change the filter every month of the year.
  • Mold Prevention – When the weather is hot and humid, make sure that your house is closed and the air conditioning is on. Check areas of the home that might contain leaks such as plumbing under sinks, basements and roof tops. Use a dehumidifier – and the bathroom fan after using the shower.
  • Remove Clutter – A cluttered home is often a dusty home. Get rid of extra furniture, boxes and anything cluttering the house that doesn’t serve a function. Remove ornamental items from your house including nonessential tabletop and mantle objects, books, magazines and clothing.
  • Bathe Pets – Bathing your pets at least once a week will reduce the amount of dander they shed and the amount of allergens they spread throughout the house.
  • Rethink Indoor Plants – The soil in potted plants can often produce mold. Consider finding an outdoor area for your plants or try adding aquarium gravel to the soil to keep the mold at bay.
  • Clean Bedding – Use allergen-proof covers for your mattress and box springs. Also make sure to wash your bedding at least once a week in the hot water cycle, especially during allergy season.
  • Carpeting – If you have wall-to-wall carpeting in your home, consider replacing it with hardwood or linoleum flooring. Carpeting can catch and hold allergens for an extended period of time. If you are unable to get rid of your carpeting, vacuum it weekly with a vacuum cleaner containing a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Shampooing your carpet on a regular basis will also help.

If you suffer from severe allergies every spring and fall, taking just a few of these proactive measures should help in reducing your symptoms. The most important tip is to simply keep the house shut during peak allergen times and, of course, try to keep from outside exposure as well.

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