When the temperature and humidity levels rise, it’s time to be on high alert for that pesky home invader – mold. This indoor allergen hides in plenty of unexpected places. Here’s the low down on what to do about it.
When the weather’s hot, nothing beats hanging out at home with the air conditioner on. However, while escaping the heat, you’ll be more likely to encounter mold, dust, pet dander, pollen and other airborne allergens. Here are some simple ways to improve indoor air quality.
Spring is actually too late to start cleaning and prepping for allergy season. So, we’ve compiled the following tips to help you get a head start, reassess your allergic reactions, and prepare yourself, and your home, for anything that the pollen season throws at you.
1. Get Informed
There is a range of allergens that may cause you to react – dust, pollen, mold and dander. Visit an allergist to find out what you’re most allergic to, so you know what to be most aware of.
2. Buy a HEPA Air Filter
Keeping the windows closed in summer is one way to stop pollen from entering your home, but if you really want to purify the air, think about getting a HEPA filter. It helps to improve the air quality in your home by removing pollen and other allergenic particles.
3. Steam Clean
Vacuuming your carpets, curtains and furniture is a good way to keep allergens under control but, if you really want to get rid of all the dust and dander that have built up over time, a thorough steam cleaning is the way to go.
4. Check Your Air Ducts
Air conditioning vents are a trap for pollen and dust so they get clogged up easily. Make sure they’re ready to work efficiently by cleaning them out or changing the filters. It will help you to save on energy costs in the long run too.
5. Download the ZYRTEC® AllergyCast® App
Get ready for the increase in allergens with the ZYRTEC® AllergyCast® App. You can log and track your allergy symptoms, and check the daily pollen count all in one place.
Removing unnecessary clutter from your home will minimize the potential for dust. Take a look at how you can take a green approach that will help your allergies and the planet.
Many charities, recycling programs and donation centers will be happy to come to your home and pick up any unwanted items. You can find out the specifics from each organization.
90 percent of paper can be recycled. You can either use a waste program or take your old newspapers to an animal shelter where they will be put to good use.
2. Magazines & Books
Shelters, libraries and hospitals will welcome any of your slightly used books and relevant magazines. A long-term plan is also to share magazines with your neighbors.
Charity organizations accept all clothing that is in a reasonable condition. During winter there are coat drop-off stations across most cities too.
TVs, computers and other gadgets are a growing waste problem, In addition to giving them to a ‘take back’ program you can drop them off at most large electronic stores for repurposing.
Children’s counseling centers, hospitals and charity organizations are always in need of toys to help keep the younger members of society entertained.
Decorating your home for the holiday season is always a fun occasion. Unpacking dusty ornaments is not. Here are a few tips to make the process as allergen-free as possible.
Keep strings of lights clean and tangle-free by wrapping them around a piece of cardboard and sealing them in large airtight bags.
1. Step 1: Mask Yourself
Before you even take out the stepladder and begin retrieving your ornaments from the cupboard, put on a dust mask. Even if you’re not super sensitive, reducing your exposure to allergens is a good idea.
2. Step 2: Tree Time
Artificial trees tend to get dusty and grimy when they’re stored away for a year. To clean yours, take it outdoors and give it a gentle brush with a broom. Alternatively, place it on a large sheet and carefully vacuum or wipe each branch from top to bottom.
3. Step 3: Shake Down
Authentic garlands and wreaths are a haven for dust. The only way to clean these decorations is to take them outside and give them a good shake. Artificial wreaths are more delicate so rather blow them clean with a hairdryer set to cool.
4. Step 4: On Ornaments
Depending on the fragility and texture of your decorations, you should take them outside and wipe each one down with a damp cloth or use a soft feather duster to get rid of dirt particles.
5. Step 5: Plan Ahead
Make sure you don’t have to deal with the same problem again next year by taking the time to pack your decorations away carefully. Wipe each piece clean, wrap it in tissue paper or a sandwich bag and stack them from the heaviest up in clearly marked storage containers.
Having seasonal allergies when you’re a kid is not fun but you can take a lighthearted approach to the situation by creating a Monster tissue box to scare off any runny noses - just in time for Halloween! You and your child can get crafty together. All you need is a rainy afternoon and a bit of inspiration.
Make sure you work in a well-ventilated area, such as an open garage or room with lots of windows, to avoid any allergic reactions and be sure to use non-toxic materials.
Step 1: Gather Supplies
A tissue box
Colored cardboard or paper
Markers/Colored paint & paintbrush
Step 2: Cut Out Features
Cut out the monster’s ears, tail, eyes and teeth from the colored cardboard or paper.
Step 3: Glue it Down
Using the dispenser as the mouth, glue the ears, tail, scales, eyes and teeth to the box.
Step 4: Give the Eyes Some Personality
Wait for the glue to dry, then draw or paint in the eyes.
Step 5: The Fun is in the Details
Decorate the monster with spots, scales or anything else you like. Use your imagination!
Create an Inspiring Workspace for Your Child.
Reduce your indoor allergy triggers with a HEPA air filter. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. The filter traps harmful air particles, such as pollen, dust mites and pet dander, through a fine filter.
The beginning of the school year is a good time to implement new ideas and regimens that will help your kids get off to a great start and stay on track all year. At the top of your list should be creating a private, functional and allergy-friendly space where they can do their homework. Here are some thought-starters.
Choose a Spot
Kids are willingly distracted so try to find an area that is quiet but not tucked too far away from the main living areas (so that you won’t know what they’re up to). Think out of the box, or rather bedroom - an unused corner and other unconventional spaces.
Banish Allergy Triggers
Before setting up the workspace, do a thorough clean to get rid of allergens that your child is allergic to. Clutter can be distracting and it’s also a veritable dust trap. Once it’s clean you can help prevent the accumulation of mess over time by providing lots of organizational and closed storage units.
A layer of hypoallergenic paint on the walls can make a huge difference. You can take your kid with you to help choose the color. Lining drawers with patterned paper can also brighten up the space and make the whole idea of doing homework more enticing.
Instead of using a simple table, chair and desk against the wall, play around with different layouts so that the area is more interesting. It should be a special zone that your kid wants to hang out in, not one only associated with work. You can also have fun by color-coding their files. This way it will be easy for them to stay organized and find things when they need to.
Make Place for Pins
A bulletin board will give your kid space to pin up anything that inspires them – from to do lists to art projects and vacation spots they’d like to visit. You can also fill it with decorative pieces and motivational sayings to make it more dynamic.
Entertain outside even when the sun is at its peak with a shade structure you made yourself. Here are some creative ideas.
Outdoor fetes demand creative centerpieces, particularly if you’re entertaining to a theme. Happily, there’s no need to spend a fortune, during blooming spring and summer evenings. Even the least expensive homemade items look festive, from mini Mason jars holding homemade lemonade in a country-themed dinner to an all-green-themed spring dinner, with a green centerpiece (or several) plucked from your own garden and doing double duty as decoration and seasoning. Here are some ideas:
Make sure you check with guests about their allergies, particularly if you’re throwing a hoedown-themed party. Guests might be allergic to stray weeds within hay bales. Look for alternatives if your guests have sensitivities.
Try a festive Moroccan theme
Moroccan parties are relaxed and breezy, and the effect couldn’t be easier to duplicate at home. Load the patio with pillows and fabrics (make sure to have some floor cushions around for lounging) and don’t worry about being matchy – you’re going for a bohemian effect. Torches and pressed tin lanterns add to the effect, as does a simple outdoor fire pit. Bring out some low tables; you can even bring the indoor coffee table out. Do a simple menu of meat and vegetables on skewers, and lots of communal goodies, like dips. Plus, pluck lots of mint from the garden and make homemade mint tea with boiling water and lots of sugar for after dinner.
Create an outdoor oasis
Create a summer oasis from the sun, outdoor pests, and chilly nights by shading the patio with a giant umbrella – or even a portable fabric gazebo – to start off your summer party while the sun is still up. Hang lanterns from your shelter for when the sun goes down (consider flameless LED candles inside for safety) to illuminate your dinner. Surround your oasis with citronella candles to keep pests away. If you want to try a fire pit to keep guests warm as the chill sets in, consider burning a wood like juniper or pine that’s a natural insect repellent.
Make a Low Country boil
Nothing is as festive or fun as eating with your hands, but you don’t have to live in the coastal Carolinas or in New England to make a Low Country boil or traditional New England clambake. Dress up your picnic table with a red and white checked (wipe-off or disposable) tablecloth – or just piles of newsprint for authenticity. Get a good recipe for a crab or crawfish boil (they usually include sausage, potatoes, corn and lots of seafood, cooked in one giant kettle). If you’re ready to get your hands really dirty, drain the mix and overturn it right on the table for people to help themselves with their hands. Not as adventurous? Use galvanized metal buckets both for serving and for discarding shells.
Your party doesn’t always need a theme; sometimes a color scheme is just enough. A fun way to harvest your herbs is to use them in big bunches in jars or wood boxes as a table centerpiece (make sure they’re washed), letting guests break off pieces of dill, mint, oregano and parsley to season their foods. Have big bowls of salad on hand with a neutral dressing; big chunks of herbs will go beautifully in it. A few minor investments, like green fabric napkins can dress up an otherwise natural decorating scheme – like a burlap table cloth (buy it in rolls at the hardware store).
Stage a hoedown party that still has plenty of high design elements. Paisley bandanas can serve as napkins and/or placemats; railroad lanterns and big Mason jars full of sunflowers create a brilliant table setting; galvanized buckets are perfect for holding ice and glass-bottled drinks. If you don’t have enough seating, visit a local farm; bales of hay make perfect extra chairs.