Posted on Mar 16, 2016 10:50am PDT

Researchers estimate that allergies affect approximately 50 million people in the United States, many of which are caused by common indoor allergens. Things like house dust, mold, pet dander, and irritants like cigarette smoke can cause a host of unpleasant symptoms like sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, and more. While it can be difficult to completely avoid these allergens, there are plenty of ways you can reduce or avoid them in your home. By exercising control over your environment, you can control your allergies.

Because most people spend one-third of each day in bed, environmental control measures focus first on the bedroom. Dust mites can be a big problem in bedrooms, and thrive in things like pillows, blankets, mattresses, carpeting, and curtains. It is important to minimize your exposure to dust in the bedroom in order to control symptoms.

Consider the following tips for making your bedroom an allergy-free zone:

  1. Encase pillows, mattresses, and box springs in zippered, dust-proof covers.
  2. Wash bedsheets every two weeks in hot water (130 degrees or above). Wool or down blankets should be replaced with a type that can withstand repeated hot water washings, such as Vellux®.
  3. Dust around the head of your bed with a commercial dusting product such as Pledge or Endust.
  4. Use window shades instead of heavy curtains. If you do use curtains, launder them frequently.
  5. If your bedroom is carpeted, consider removing it in favor of wood flooring.
  6. Dust drawers and closets regularly with a damp cloth. Consider using a dust and pollen filter mask when you dust, clean the house, make beds, etc.
  7. Use wood or plastic furniture rather than upholstered or wicker furniture.
  8. Avoid dust-collecting room décor, such as macramé hangings, decorative pillows, grass wallpapers, and unnecessary clutter.
  9. Keep clothing in a closet with the door shut.
  10. Use a dehumidifier in a damp basement.
  11. Maintain a relative humidity of 40-50 percent (dust mites cannot live at humidity below 50 percent. Avoid over-humidifying in the winter.
  12. Place filter covers in air vents.
  13. Consider a room HEPA air cleaner to effectively remove dust particles from the air.
  14. Avoid using ceiling fans, if possible.

For more tips on how to reduce common allergens in your home, please schedule an appointment with a Board Certified Allergist at Center for Allergy and Asthma Control of Georgia. Same day appointments are available!