You know what springtime means, right? Sniffles, sneezing, migraines and trouble breathing. That’s right. It’s allergy time.
Bad allergies are not just confined to the spring, of course. Ragweed and hay fever sufferers get hit in the late summer and fall in Toronto. That said, you probably might now be suffering due to the tree, weed and grass pollens that are starting to get carried into the warm breezes.
It’s not just pollen, either. You may suffer from allergies year-round due to pet dander in your home. If you have mould or mildew, that’s a recipe for allergies, too. Dust mites can take to the air if your home is a humid breeding ground for them. Tobacco smoke also might be causing you to wheeze, and if you’re repainting your kitchen cabinets, the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the paint might be aggravating things.
Do you live near a major freeway? You may also be at risk of breathing in pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone, particulate matter, and sulphur oxides. That pollution can get indoors, causing you to cough and rub your watery eyes.
The crummy thing, too, is that allergies can trigger asthma. The same substances that cause allergies — pet dander, dust mites and pollen — cause asthma signs and symptoms. About three out of five allergy sufferers will get asthma.
So you may be looking for seasonal allergy treatments to bring relief to what you’re feeling. (And you really need relief because everyday life is horrible with all that sneezing and itchiness.) You may have tried drugs, but they have side-effects. Over-the-counter allergy medications will probably make you feel tired. You also have to pop a new pill every four hours or so. So how do you find allergy relief without drugs?
There are some surprisingly effective ways to help relieve spring allergy symptoms. Just remember, see your family doctor right away if your allergies don’t go away or get worse and new symptoms appear.
1. Remove Irritants to Relieve Allergies
This might sound like a no-brainer, but getting rid of what’s causing your allergy will make you feel better. Try these steps:
- Close the windows in your home at night. Run the air conditioning if you have it, as this cleans, cools and dries the air.
- In your car, keep the windows closed while travelling, too.
- Try not stepping outside when the pollen counts are high. Wear a pollen mask if you absolutely have to go out anywhere. Avoid cutting the grass or raking leaves, which whips around pollen and moulds, and avoid hanging clothes out to dry outdoors. When you come inside, shower and change your clothes. Be sure to shampoo your hair.
- If you’re renovating your house, try to use paint that contains no or low VOCs.
- Don’t smoke. If you do, you can find support to quit at community health centers or through the Smokers’ Helpline. If your spouse or someone in your home smokes, try to convince them to quit for your health or at least move their smoking outside.
- If you have pets, keep them outdoors as much as possible. If you can’t, at least try to keep them out of your bedroom.
- Keep your house clean so that mould and mildew doesn’t have a chance to grow. Make sure you have no water leaks anywhere. Keep your foundation dry. These things, too, will prevent mould from forming.
- Dust before you vacuum and generally keep dirt out of your home. Make everyone remove their shoes before entering your house.
2. Try a Nasal Spray or a Natural Health Product
There are a variety of nasal spray products for allergy sufferers — from ones your doctor might prescribe to saline solutions. The saline nasal sprays are a great first step for your allergies because there are no side effects. They simply soften the mucus in your nose.
You can also try natural health remedies, such as apple cider vinegar and eucalyptus oil to get rid of your allergy symptoms. They are said to boost the body’s immune system, offering relief. While there are no guarantees that they will help, if your doctor OKs this it might not hurt to try.
3. Live a Healthier Lifestyle
Getting stressed out can also have an impact on your allergies. According to an April 2014 study in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, people with allergies who experienced constant stress found that they had more flare-ups. If you reduce stress through yoga, meditation, adult colouring and proper sleep, your allergy symptoms may decrease.
Exercising and eating healthy food regularly may help, too. Both increase your immune system’s ability to fight off your allergy symptoms.
4. Clean Your Home’s Ventilation Ducts
A lot of dust can build up in your home’s ventilation system, so having a professional from Air Quality Dunrite clean it can reduce allergy symptoms. A cleaning will prevent all of that pet hair, pollen and mould from circulating around your home. You don’t need to do this every year, unless you’ve done renovation work in your home. Every few years should be fine to get your home free of allergens — at least, in your ducts.
5. Buy a Humidifier or Dehumidifier
Depending on what your needs are, you could try getting a humidifier or dehumidifier. A humidifier releases steam into the air to increase humidity. Higher humidity can relieve your allergy symptoms and make you breathe easier.
The downside to higher humidity is that both dust mites and mould thrive in wet air. If your allergies are caused by either of these two things, then you need a dehumidifier to remove the water vapour from the air.
Generally, you should try to keep the humidity level between 35 and 50 percent. This is a happy balance between making you feel better without inviting in pests or bacteria.
6. Get an Air Purifier or Air Filter
Another way to get that spring allergy relief is by buying an air purifier or air filter. What’s the difference?
Air filters screen out small particles and odours in the air.
Air purifiers usually use ultraviolet light to kill micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses.
Which one you should get will depend on your allergy symptoms and how severe they are.
If you suffer from spring allergies, you can start with a filter to trap pollen that goes into your furnace set-up. These filters can make you breathe easier during the day. They can also help you get better sleep, as your allergy symptoms might get worse at night. Your respiratory system relaxes when you try to sleep, making filtering air particles out of your lungs much harder.
You should try High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters. These filters can trap microscopic particles that cause allergies. Just be sure that the filter is certified as being a HEPA product as knock-offs exist. A real HEPA filter will have either a five- or 10-year warranty.
You can get an air purifier if you have mould in the air. There are a wide range of products that are on the market, from portable units that can clear a room to one that works with your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system.
While whole home systems are better because they won’t trap you to one room, Air Quality Dunrite offers a powerful portable unit. It is stronger and more effective than a traditional stand-alone unit. It might be something to consider if you can’t yet afford a whole home system.
Where Do I Find These Products?
So where do you get humidifiers and dehumidifiers, air filters and air purifiers, along with the service of duct cleaning? The great news is that Air Quality Dunrite offers all of these products and services them too.
You can have a look at what we have to offer, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact us right away. We want to make sure that your sneezing, watery eyes and sniffing goes away quickly so that you can enjoy all that spring has to offer.