How to dodge the spring allergy season

After a long, cold winter, most of us look forward to rising temperatures and blooming plants. But if you have asthma, allergies, or both, the pollen that comes with the season can take a serious toll on your everyday health and well-being.

Trevor Brewer, director of air treatment specialist Solenco, says there are ways to prepare and take the sting out of the sniffles that come with springtime.

1. Get your spring cleaning on

After a windy and dusty August, it’s a good idea to get going on your spring cleaning, focusing on areas in your home where dust and allergens tend to accumulate. “Start with air filters, bedding, upholstered furniture and carpeting, removing any dust and pollen that has made its way inside your home already,” advises Brewer.

If you are clearing out or sprucing up the yard for spring, then wear a suitable mask to reduce the inhalation of allergens. When you are done for the day, be sure to change your clothes and take a shower, as pollen can stick to your clothes and hair, making it easy to track pollen spores throughout your home.

“Maintaining a clean environment is key in high allergy season, so prepare to vacuum often, and preferably with a vacuum that has a high-efficiency filter, which is most effective in capturing allergens and dust, whereas some vacuums tend to simply move allergens around instead of removing them from the air completely,” says Brewer. If vacuuming is labour-intensive, consider investing in a quality robotic vacuum cleaner that can be scheduled to clean at the same time every day, on its own. The Hobot Legee range (available at Solenco) has high-efficiency filters that efficiently sift out harmful contaminants, and offers units suitable for both hard floors and carpeting.

2. Keep your air purifiers clean!

If you don’t already have one, an air purifier is a must-have for maintaining clean and purified air all-year round. “In spring, air purifiers ensure your airways are kept pollen- and dust-free for easier breathing, while also staving off airborne viruses that tend to crop up with the change of season,” says Brewer. “Again, you should be looking for air purifiers with multi-stage filtration systems including HEPA filters, activated carbon filters, and antiviral filters.”

It is best to brush up on the recommended timeframe when it comes to changing your air purifier’s filters. If the filters are not maintained properly or replaced when needed, the air purifier will not be able to filter the impurities from the air as effectively as it was designed to do. Brewer says that the lifespan of filters depends on the air quality, application and maintenance of the device; however, your air purifier should have come with instructions on how to clean and maintain the device and its filters effectively.

3. Keep mould spores at bay

Tree and grass pollen are not the only spring allergy offenders, as mould can also kick allergy symptoms into overdrive. Brewer says that mould often occurs in basements, bathrooms and kitchens, or any area that may not dry properly due to poor ventilation or excess moisture. “You should immediately clean or remove anything that appears to have mould in your home and then monitor your humidity levels and ventilation accordingly,” he advises.

“The recommended relative humidity level is 50% to 55%, which can be accurately monitored and controlled by means of a dehumidifier. These devices are especially relevant in coastal and rainy areas, where it’s often difficult to naturally ventilate or control excess moisture.”

4. Dodge peak allergy hours

As frustrating as it may be, try to plan your schedule so that you can avoid outdoor activities when the pollen count is highest, typically between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. When making plans to spend time outside during allergy season, keep in mind that hot, dry days will have a greater amount of pollen in the
environment than colder, rainy days. 

“Having your allergies confirmed by a medical practitioner is also advisable, as most cases of asthma or other respiratory conditions go undiagnosed because people unknowingly attribute their symptoms to allergies,” concludes Brewer.

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