How to avoid indoor allergies

The spring and summer months may be peak times for hay fever, but if you’re affected by an indoor allergy such as allergic rhinitis, asthma or eczema, autumn and winter can be troublesome too – especially where your health and wellbeing are concerned.

When the weather starts getting chillier, most people tend to spend an increasing amount of time indoors. But the more time you spend indoors, the more you may be exposed to airborne allergens such as dust, pet dander and mould. And for the many people who have allergic reactions to such things, that can mean unpleasant symptoms

Thankfully there are things you can do that may help, says airborne allergies expert Max Wiseberg. “Avoiding the allergen is always key with any allergy, whatever it may be,” he explains. “If the allergen isn’t in your body, your body won’t react. Simple.”

Here are some of his favourite practical tips for reducing dust, pet and mould allergens around the home:

  • Vacuum your house regularly, especially beds and fabrics to reduce the number of dust and pet allergen particles.
  • Damp dust surfaces regularly, to reduce allergens on surfaces while avoiding dispersing them into the air.
  • Wash bedding very regularly to remove allergens. Anti-allergy bedding made from ‘intelligent’ fibres can be very helpful for people who suffer from dust mite allergies. They limit the growth of dust mite allergens and also keep them away from the skin. Visit Allergy UK’s website for its list of approved products.
  • Keep cuddly toys and blankets in a cupboard to prevent the build-up of allergens on them.
  • Apply an organic drug-free allergen barrier balm – available at pharmacies – around the nostrils and the bones of the eyes in the morning, throughout the day and at night to trap dust, pet and mould allergens before they enter the body. Less allergen, less reaction.
  • Avoid drying clothes indoors over a radiator, as this increases the humidity in your home and can result in mould, which releases tiny spores into the air that you breathe.
  • Mould and dust mites thrive in moist environments. Try to keep the humidity in your house between 40 – 20 percent to control these allergens. Make sure your house is well ventilated and/or use a dehumidifier.
  • Be careful when using harsh chemicals for cleaning. The fumes can exacerbate breathing problems (a common trigger for asthma) and cause skin irritation.
  • Shower at night before going to bed, to remove dust and pet allergens from your hair and body.
  • If you own a pet, ensure that it is well groomed and shampooed as much as possible to remove pet allergens and dust particles.
  • Try using an air conditioner preferably with a HEPA (high-efficiency particle arresting) filter to capture the dust particles, cool and circulate the air.

Your local Careway pharmacist can also give you lots of tips on combatting indoor allergies, whatever the time of year, and help you soothe your symptoms. Find your nearest participating Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.