While the pollen counts are still pretty low here in Eastern Pennsylvania, that doesn't mean those with allergies aren't already feeling the hurt. Itchy eyes, stuffed-up or runny noses, sneezing every six seconds as you try to make it through your day — these have become constants in the lives of people trying to deal with the influx of pollen, blooming flowers, and budding trees every spring.
While over-the-counter and prescription medicines often bring needed relief, there are some steps you can take to help fight the effect of allergies, naturally, inside the home.
1. First off, change your air filters.
We can't say this enough. The average homeowner changes their air filters out only about once every six months. Most air filters are only designed to work for three months at most, and the less expensive options are only useful for a single 30-day period. It's also important to remember that air filters are tested under laboratory conditions, which tend to be cleaner than those conditions experienced by people who may be dealing with tracked-in dirt and dust, pet dander, and of course, pollen making its way in from outside.
Be sure to check the directions on your air filters and change it out exactly as directed. You may even want to change a little earlier than it says in months with a high pollen count. The air inside your home will be cleaner, and your lungs will thank you!
2. Pick up a neti pot.
Neti pots, which looks a little bit like small, strangely shaped teapots, are used to flush out pollen and other allergens from your nasal passages. Once you get the hang of it, using the neti pot is quick and easy and many people report tremendous relief of allergy symptoms with regular use. It's important to use sterilized or boiled water for safety reasons. For more information on neti pots and their uses, click here.
3. Set up a portable — or permanent — purifier inside your home.
Air purifiers come in many different sizes. Some are easy to move from room to room as needed, while others will likely become a permanent part of your bedroom decor. If you have a working HVAC system, you likely won't need the larger variations, but homes that only have a window unit for A/C or don't have any central heating and cooling at all may want to invest in larger models.
Air purifiers work by pulling the bits of pollen, dirt, debris, dust, and other particles out of the air and catching them in an internal filter. The filters inside air purifiers do need to be switched out annually, although some come with filters that can be safely removed, cleaned, and put back inside the purifier.
Whole-house filter systems are available and can provide even more powerful air purification — just give us a call at (215) 855-2014 to learn more.
4. Switch out your cleaning products for more natural choices.
One thing that people are often surprised to learn is that the more they attempt to keep their home clean to prevent allergic reactions, the more they seem to be fighting symptoms! The harsh ingredients in most cleaning chemicals can irritate nasal passages and skin, leading allergy symptoms to appear even stronger while you think you're getting rid of the culprit. Try replacing at-home cleaning products with cleaning solutions made with vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda. Some ideas on natural cleaning solutions that may help can be found here.
Of course, none of this should be taken as advice that replaces any of the medication you have had suggested or prescribed by a medical professional. We believe our ideas will work alongside your current allergy plan to help you feel a little more at ease this spring.
At Donnelly's Plumbing Heating and Cooling, our specialty is in the installation, maintenance, and service of your home heating, cooling, and plumbing systems. If you're finding that your HVAC just can't quite keep up with your cooling needs, that your drains are making strange sounds, or any other issues are occurring, we're here to help. Give us a call at (215) 855-2014 or schedule service online at any time.