Attack of the Allergens!

Filed Under: Illness & Prevention

Itchy eyes? Runny nose? Constant sneezing or coughing? Yep, you've got allergies.

So, what are allergens? Allergens are anything that your body perceives as an intruder and decides to react against. Allergens are small and tiny particles, usually invisible to the naked eye, and they are EVERYWHERE. From dust and mold, to pollen and animal hair, allergens come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can leave you reaching for the tissue box year round. But have no fear, relief is here. Lysol® has a few cleaning tips to help you recognize and avoid both seasonal and year-round allergens clogging up the works. After all, the best defense is a good offense.

Year-Round Allergens/ Winter Allergens

Typically, year-round allergens come from an indoor source. The most common types are dust, mold, and pet hair or dander. These are the vicious intruders that seep into every crack of your home making relief seem impossible.

  • Dust mites: These microscopic monsters thrive in mattresses and bedding. When their droppings and remains become airborne, your natural filtration system feels under attack.
  • Mold: This fungus flourishes in dark, damp areas such as basements and bathrooms. When mold spores get into the air, they can trigger allergy symptoms.
  • Animals: Little known fact: most people aren't allergic to animal fur, but rather to a protein found in pet dander or saliva.

Spring:

  • Pollen: The horror. These miniscule grains, produced by trees, grasses, and weeds, get into your nose and throat and send your immune system into overload.

Summer:

  • Ragweed: By late spring most trees and plants are done pollinating, which leaves mostly grasses and weeds to trigger summer allergies. One of the most common offenders is ragweed. Even if there is no ragweed in your area, tiny bits can travel for hundreds of miles through wind and land at your front door.
  • Smog: Believe it or not, summer air pollution can leave you with a sore throat and itchy eyes, as well. Low winds and hot temperatures leave pollution hovering in the air, making it harder for you to breathe.

Fall:

  • Mold, Again: Yes, we covered this one earlier in your bathroom or basement, but in the Fall, mold can reach a whole new level. Damp leaf piles are the perfect breeding ground for this molecular mayhem.

Cleaning Tips for Avoiding Allergies

  • Wash your sheets regularly in hot water and every 6-8 weeks take a vacuum and steam cleaner to your mattress. You'd be surprised at the amount of dust mites and dander you'll find hiding.
  • Don't be lazy about wiping down your kitchen surfaces. Don't stop at countertops, make sure to cover the top of the fridge and cabinet surfaces, as well.
  • Let the vacuum fly where it may: On top of vacuuming your usual carpets and floors, make sure to vacuum any upholstered surface. This means couches, curtains, pillows, and anything else that can absorb a spill. If it can absorb a spill, it can absorb hair and dust.
  • Shampoo 'til your heart's content: If you have wall-to-wall carpeting, sometimes the vacuum just isn't enough. Splurge a little and shampoo your carpets at least once a year. You can do this yourself by renting a steam cleaner from your local hardware or grocery store, or you can bring in the professionals to do it for you.
  • Spray away: Use Lysol® Disinfectant Spray on surfaces around your house to get rid of dust mite debris and other allergens. 
  • Brush and shampoo your furry friends regularly: Every time your dog or cat enters the house from the outdoors, try and run a brush through their hair a few times first. It may seem like you're not pulling up much, but a little goes a long way.
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