What are allergies?

An allergic reaction occurs when your body comes into contact with an allergen. Your body identifies this substance as harmful, even when it isn’t. Then, when you come into contact with that allergen again, it will react to it, causing allergy symptoms. Springtime allergies are most often due to tree pollen and in more humid climates, outdoor mold. Grass pollen is a big cause of summer allergies and weed pollen causes fall allergies.

What are the symptoms?

Allergy symptoms vary from person to person and depend on the particular allergy. Some common symptoms include: itchy, watery eyes; sneezing; runny nose; and congestion. If your seasonal allergies are generally mild, nasal sprays and oral antihistamines can help manage the symptoms. If OTC treatments won’t reduce your symptoms, it may be time to talk with a physician about a prescription or other treatment.

What steps can be taken to reduce allergy symptoms?

  • Stay indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
  • Keep windows and doors closed – Restricting the amount of outside air that comes into your home may help those with airborne allergen sensitivities.
  • Delegate lawn mowing, weed pulling, and other gardening chores that stir up allergens.
  • After spending time outside, take a shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair and put on clean clothes.
  • Wear a face mask if you do outside chores
  • Start taking over-the-counter antihistamines when high pollen counts are forecasted even before your symptoms start.
  • Use air conditioning in your house and car.
  • Use high-efficiency air filters and change them frequently.
  • Keep indoor air dry with a dehumidifier.
  • And finally, do a deep cleaning of your home every Spring.

Need help with that last one? Well, read on…

Allergy Reducing Spring Cleaning Tips

Spring cleaning may sound like a daunting task, however, if you break it down into manageable chunks you will be done in no time! First, start by creating a checklist for each room that outlines what needs to be cleaned, how it should be cleaned, and what the end result should be. For example, here is a plan for a bathroom:

  • Remove all towels and linens, including shower curtain, to be washed
  • Remove all products and toiletries and dispose of any that are not in regular use or are very old
  • Remove all trash and disinfect trash receptacle
  • Spray tub, toilet, and sink with multi-purpose cleaner and allow to sit
  • Use glass cleaner on all mirrored surfaces
  • Dust and polish light fixtures; replace any mismatched or ailing bulbs and check for signs of wear
  • Remove exhaust fan grate and clean; replace
  • Scrub tub from top down; use bristle brush to deep-clean grout
  • Scrub toilet bowl and wipe down toilet exterior with bleach wipes
  • Scrub sink and polish metal faucet; dry
  • Wipe interiors of cabinets and drawers; replace liners as needed
  • Wipe down baseboards with damp cloth
  • Scrub floor and wipe dry
  • Replace fresh towels and retained products and toiletries
  • Vacuuming the carpeted areas of your home can help eliminate common allergens. Don’t forget to vacuum the drapes and stairs as well.

This amount of detail will empower family members to divide and conquer the workload. Remember to clean from the top down—if you polish the coffee table and shampoo the carpet, don’t spoil your hard work by then dusting the ceiling fan.

Stay Motivated

Make a day of your spring cleaning. Clear your schedule of other obligations, fire up an energizing music playlist, and order take-out. Enlist family members so you have an extra set of hands. Minimize breaks so you don’t lose momentum, and vary your tasks when you feel your focus fading. Finally, keep your eye on the prize—picture the final product and imagine the satisfaction of a clean, organized, healthy home. Celebrate when you are done with a hot bubble bath in your gleaming tub, a new book in your freshly-organized living room, or a luxurious meal in your sparkling kitchen.

Sustain your cleaning habits

Pay it forward to yourself by sustaining your effort daily; you’ll be glad you did so next year. Review your checklist to see what tasks could be added to a daily, weekly, and monthly rotation. Add one new task at a time: this week, introduce a habit of rinsing dishes and placing them inside the dishwasher rather than setting them in the sink. Next week, purchase a daily shower spray to add to your routine, preventing soap scum build-up. Incremental steps like these can reduce your spring cleaning obligation in the future and contribute to an overall healthier home environment.

Breathe in the long term benefits!

Spring cleaning can also benefit your allergies and mood. Spring pollen can cause hay fever, but you don’t have to suffer double by also dealing with pet and dust allergies indoors. By keeping your house clean and de-cluttered, your sinuses can get a break from the offenders outside and take a breather—literally!

It’s no surprise that less clutter means less trapped allergens and happier sinuses, but having less clutter can boost your mood and mind, too! Reducing and organizing your belongings can increase your productivity by improving your ability to focus and process information. According to a UCLA study, physical clutter causes stress and sensory overload while inhibiting creativity. Don’t limit yourself to cleaning in the spring season, however. Use spring cleaning as a time to jumpstart a new, healthy habit that will benefit your body, mind, and mood year-round!


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