Readers who live in North Carolina know it’s pollen season when they wake up to a yellow car. On a windy spring day we see clouds of yellow pollen billowing through our neighborhood. For those of us who are prone to allergies, this time of year can make our lives quite miserable with sneezing, runny noses and watery, itchy eyes.
While most allergy sufferers know to avoid being outdoors when the pollen count is high, many do not realize the many ways in which they literally invite the yellow allergen into their home to be inhaled all night long. Here are a few tips to help you fight the pollen battle in your home:
- Keep windows closed and do not run fans that pull outdoor air indoors. We know it’s nice outside and the urge to open windows is strong, but consider the consequences of introducing all that pollen into your home.
- Upgrade your furnace filter to paper media with lots of pleats. Leave it in place until the heavy spring pollen season is over, then replace it.
- Run a HEPA air filter in your bedroom to help trap errant pollen. You can’t possibly keep all pollen out of the house, but keeping the count low where you sleep is very important.
- Wash your hair in the evening. This will get the pollen out of your hair and help keep your pillow clean.
- Change your pillowcase frequently during pollen season.
- Bathe your outdoor pets every day and keep them off the bed! The latter is a good idea all year long as outdoor pets bring all manner of contaminants indoors on their feet and fur.
- Run a vacuum cleaner over floors every day. Use a vacuum with a sealed HEPA system so you’re not just blowing the pollen off the floor and back into the air.
- Wash clothing frequently, especially things you wore while pursuing outdoor activities. Clothes can trap lots of pollen against your skin, causing the release of histamine. This release of histamine is what causes pollen allergy symptoms.