There’s no denying that spring is a stunning and pretty season that reminds us of new possibilities. It signals the start of warmer months, flowers go in full bloom, and it’s a great reminder that after a long, cold winter, we can start all over again.
But with this season also comes a slew of new allergens, like pollen from plants—which trigger allergies in a lot of people. Spring may be fun, but the sniffles and sneezes are not, especially at a time when we’re also contending with a virus that has a lot of similar symptoms.
While there’s no permanent and direct cure for spring allergies, there are plenty of remedies and household habits you can do to combat them and even prevent them. Here are some of them.
Identify your (pollen) triggers.
If you live near a lot of trees and greenery, and you’re prone to spring allergies, then you may already know that one of the biggest causes of spring allergies is pollen. This is because our immune system sees pollen as something dangerous and harmful to us, then our antibodies attack the allergens by releasing histamines in our bloodstream. These histamines cause itchy eyes and nose, runny nose, and many other symptoms associated with allergies.
Pollen is particularly bad during windy days because they can travel for miles, so you don’t even need to live near trees and greenery for them to affect you. Rain, however, can wash pollen away.
Here are some microorganisms that trigger spring allergies:
- Box elder
Weeds and grasses
- Sweet vernal
- Perennial rye
If you know you’re prone to seasonal allergies, try avoiding going to areas with a lot of these types of trees, weeds, and grasses, especially during windy days.
Be more vigilant with allergy-proofing your home and car.
If you’re the type to suffer pretty bad allergies, then you must already have the tools needed for allergy-proofing your home all-year-round. But spring is the best time to enforce stricter cleaning habits, or doing more of a comprehensive dust-up and deep cleaning. Here’s a checklist to get you started:
- Vacuum once a week using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.A weekly vacuuming session may seem like too much, especially investing in a HEPA-filtered vacuum instead of a regular one, but pollen is so small that you run the risk of shooting them up in the air when you use a normal vacuum.
- Declutter your home. Items like cardboard boxes and other older pieces are prone to dust mites and dust bunnies.
- Maintain your HVAC system. Make sure every air duct and filter is spotless, especially during the start of spring. You can do this once a week or every two weeks to ensure that no new pollen or allergens enter your house through them.
- Watch out for mold growth, especially in the bathroom. Scrub the tiles thoroughly, and check the shower curtains for mold growth as well.
- Sweep or vacuum the entryways. Especially if people frequently come in and out of your home. You never know what allergens and pollen people carry through their shoes when they enter your home. If possible, you can also consider having outside shoes left outside your home. You can invest in a nice shelf for shoes so that people can leave them outside and have slippers ready for them when they get inside, or you can also invest in what is called a “genkan,” or a traditional Japanese entryway area inside your apartment, house, or building (it’s similar to a doormat or a porch), where people can leave their shoes so that they’re safely inside the house without actually being inside the common areas.
- When in doubt, hire professionals. While you can certainly do your own cleaning, professional cleaners have the tools and equipment to truly clean your home and everything inside it. For example, air-drying your clothes may cause pollen to land on them without your knowledge. Dry cleaners have high-quality equipment that can ensure micro-allergens are truly removed from your clothes without you worrying about it.
If we can encapsulate allergy-proofing this season in one phrase, it’s probably this: Maintain cleanliness. Allergens are everywhere, and prevention is always better than cure, especially during a time like COVID-19. So know what triggers your spring allergies and make sure to keep those triggers as far away from you as possible.