It’s that time of the year again – skies are blue, the sun is shining, flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and… ah-choo! Sigh. Where are those hay fever tablets again?
Hay fever is an allergic reaction and a lot of people are susceptible to it. If you suffer from it, you’re not a lost cause – there are many ways to reduce the pains associated with hay fever – a lot of which start right at home.
When pollen counts are high, people with severe hay fever symptoms should stay indoors, especially between 5am and 10am, when pollen reigns supreme. Keep windows and doors shut and if you have pets, keep them outside. If you’d like to keep pets indoors, give them a regular washing to get rid of any pollen from their fur.
Air-condition your indoor space
As you’d ideally be shutting your doors and windows most of the time to keep pollen out, air-conditioners play a big part in keeping your home comfortable and promoting airflow. It may not be an obvious issue, but choosing the right location for your air-conditioning unit is important.
Maintain your air-conditioning unit
Installing an air-conditioning unit in your home is just the beginning – a big chunk of effectively keeping your home allergy-free is to properly maintain your air-conditioner. Regularly clean or replace your air-conditioner filter, depending on the unit model. If you have a split system air-conditioning unit, keep the outdoor system clear of debris such as leaves, dirt or weeds. This will allow for adequate airflow. If you won’t be using your air-conditioner for several months, shield the outdoor equipment with a weatherproof cover to protect it from dirt and debris. A professional technician can perform more extensive maintenance work, such as inspecting, cleaning, and tuning-up the outdoor condenser and indoor air-handling unit.
Allergy-proof your home
Clean, clean, and then clean some more. Prevent mould in the kitchen, bathrooms and on household plants. Vacuum your entire house regularly – ideally using a machine with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter. If possible, roll up removable carpets or big rugs and put them in storage. Throw pillows in the living room or bedroom are also prone to catching airborne particles that trigger those allergic symptoms, so get rid of them if you can. Use synthetic pillows and encase mattresses in allergy-free covers.
Get some greenery in your home
Certain plants breathe in the ‘bad air’ and breathe out ‘good air’. Aloe vera, spider plants, peace lilies and philodendrons are useful in helping to neutralise the air in your house – specifically formaldehyde, found in household items, including disinfectants; and benzene, found in car fumes. Snake plants, Boston and asparagus ferns, English ivy, and Areca and bamboo plants are great air neutralisers, too. Having said that, don’t keep fresh flowers in the house, as these are a literal breeding ground for pollen and other airborne particles.
Don’t let hay fever get you down! As you can see, there are ways around it. Start by making small changes in your home to minimise symptoms, then head out and enjoy the warm summer days.