Natural Ways to Relieve Indoor Allergies
When you are on your 37th sneeze in a row, you do not really care what is causing it. You simply want it to stop. Trust me, I know. As an allergy sufferer for more than 20 years, I spend my fair share of time sneezing my head off.
You might think coming indoors would help, but nope. Sometimes, my allergies are worse indoors than outside. That is because dust and mold are my two biggest allergy triggers. I do not know about your indoor spaces, but mine are hardly free from either of those things.
Why are my allergies so bad inside my house?
Why is it that I sneeze more inside than outside some days? Well, if you believe the Environmental Protection Agency (and I do), it is because the air quality inside my home is not much better than the outside air quality.
I am not the only person with this issue. The EPA says that my home and yours are the most allergic environments we encounter each day. Just thinking about it makes my eyes water.
Outdoor allergies are usually caused by pollen and environmental pollution. Reducing your exposure to outdoor air controls your symptoms. If tree pollen is your top trigger, it's wise to avoid outdoor time on days when pollen levels are highest.
What do you do when your allergies are aggravated by something inside your home? That can be trickier to solve.
One of the contributors to indoor allergies is improper ventilation. Yes, we want to secure our homes from excessive air temperatures to maintain our comfort. However, sealing off the outside airflow too tightly can spell disaster. When too little outdoor air enters your home, indoor pollutants like dust, mold, and pet dander can build up to unhealthy levels.
What are the symptoms of indoor allergies?
The symptoms of indoor allergies are not that different from those you experience with outdoor allergies. Sneezing is the most common reaction most people have to allergen exposure, whether indoors or outdoors. Sneezing is your body’s way of trying to rid itself of the offensive invaders, which is pretty cool.
Some other tell-tale signs of indoor allergies:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
If you are unsure whether you have allergies, you can request allergy testing with an allergy and immunology specialist. Allergy testing helps identify which allergens affect you so you can work on reducing your exposure.
Are my indoor allergies genetic?
Maybe. Evidence is mixed on how much of a role genetics plays in whether you develop indoor allergies. Some research suggests that if you have a parent with indoor allergies, you have a 30 to 50 percent chance of developing indoor allergies as well. If both parents suffer, your chances increase to 60 to 80 percent.
Why do some people develop allergies later in life?
The truth is you can develop allergies at any age. Some of the most common indoor allergens – pet dander, dust mites – can accumulate in an indoor environment. For some people, it takes years and years of exposure to an indoor allergen before their bodies scream out for mercy (aka, develop allergies). Combined with poor air quality in your home, the cumulative effect can and does contribute to the severity of your indoor allergies.
How do you get rid of indoor allergies?
Stopping indoor allergens is impossible. No matter how clean you keep your home, allergens will never completely disappear. In fact, over-using harsh chemicals to sanitize your home actually may contribute to your indoor breathing difficulties. Common commercial cleaning products like ammonia and bleach can worsen your indoor allergies.
Even having a pet-free home does not guarantee you will never develop allergies to pet dander. You are exposed to allergens everywhere you go – including other people’s homes. You bring microscopic bits of allergens home with you from every place you have visited each day. Allergens also are airborne. Opening your windows regularly for fresh air can invite unwanted allergens into your home.
What can I do to reduce indoor allergens?
Just because you cannot completely rid yourself of pesky indoor allergens does not mean you cannot reduce their effects. There are natural ways to relieve your indoor allergies if you prefer an alternative to traditional treatments. Here is what I suggest.
Filter your indoor air
Air filtration units with HEPA filters (high-efficiency particle air) are your best defense against indoor allergens. These efficient filters remove 99.97 percent of all bacteria, dust, mold, pollen, and other airborne irritants from your home.
Indoor allergens are sticky little buggers. It is why it is so difficult to completely rid your indoor spaces of them. Vacuuming all carpeting and upholstered surfaces weekly can help remove the bulk of indoor allergens clinging to these areas.
Bathe your pets
Bathing your cats and dogs can lower the level of pet dander in your home. For the best results, bathe pets twice weekly. If you have cats anything like mine, they are hardly cooperative about baths. Some dogs may not be thrilled with the idea, either. There are grooming wipes that can help in these situations. This is one of my favorites for my feline friends. There are several brands for cats and dogs, so choose one your pet can tolerate.
Spay and neuter
Spaying and neutering your cats is the responsible thing to do for many reasons. Did you know it can also help reduce indoor allergens? A recent breakthrough study points to evidence that neutering male cats reduces their dander production since hormones control how much dander male cats produce. There is anecdotal evidence the same is true for female cats.
Clear the air, clean your laundry
Allergens hang in the air and cling to surfaces for a long time. Washing your clothes may not be enough to rid them of pollutants and irritants. Easy Air Organic Allergy Relief is your secret weapon against pet dander and other indoor allergens. I have used these amazing products for more than six months now and am astonished at how well they reduce indoor allergens. I breathe much easier with them in my indoor allergy toolkit.
You may not be able to completely rid yourself of indoor allergens. With these all-natural methods, you can certainly put a damper on them. Here’s to breathing deeply without sneezing!
Shari Berg is a researcher, frequent blogger, feature writer, and author of Wars End with Me.