Your home is your haven. It’s meant to be your sanctuary from the pressure of the outside world, a place of reprieve from work stress, and a happy place to rest your head. It’s the last place on Earth you would consider a health hazard, but could your house actually be harboring allergens that make you ill? Unfortunately, your home can be a refuge for multiple allergens such as pet dander, dust mites, mold, mildew, flowers, old linens and smoke. Feather pillows, cockroaches, and insect dropping are other well-known culprits. If you are sensitive to any or all of these allergens, they can cause headaches, sore throat, itchy eyes, difficulty breathing, and overall lethargy.
Fortunately, there are many simple changes you can make to minimize these allergens in your home. You don’t have to live in a sterile box or completely eliminate decorative items that make your home feel warm and welcoming, just make some basic swaps keep those nasty irritants at bay.
- Flowers are beautiful, but many of them, specially those from the Daisy family, are known to cause allergies. Be selective about the fresh flowers you have in your home. Hosta, hydrangeas, and geraniums, for example, are known to be more hypoallergenic. They provide the look and health benefits of fresh flowers without the allergens of other flora and fauna.
- Scented candles are a popular way to give your house a nice aroma, but many of the heavily scented candles are loaded with artificial and chemically based scents. Choose unscented soy candles or flameless candles to reduce irritation and breathing difficulties.
- Opt for leather furniture. Chairs and couches made of synthetic fabrics can harbor dust, pet dander, and other allergens. If it is in your budget, consider getting so new leather furniture instead. It will look chic, and your home will be more hypoallergenic.
- You can keep your pillows, both on your bed and the decorative ones on the new couch. Just make sure they aren’t feather, and keep them in dust mite covers. These are becoming increasingly popular and now are available in a variety of colors and styles.
- While you’re redecorating, consider replacing your heavy synthetic curtains, plastic blinds, and all window treatments with new ones made of natural fibers. This will help reduce dust and give a clean, crisp look.
- Go for a minimalist look. Keep it clean and simple by reducing the number of collectibles and “things” you have on your shelves and tables. Reducing clutter reduces the number of items collecting dust will go a long way when avoiding allergies in your home.
- Carpet can harbor dust mites, pet dander, and all kinds of other items you don’t need in your house. Instead, install hardwood or ceramic tiles in any variety of color or style. Not only will you allergens to a minimum, you’ll get a fresh, updated look.
- Make some changes in the bedroom, as well. Use only all natural bed linens, including sheets, blankets, and quilts. Toss any faux fur throw blankets and choose all natural fibers to help cut back on dust and irritants.
- Consider giving the entire interior of your house a fresh coat of paint to remove a source of multiple allergens. Be sure to select “green” paint, making sure it is low or free of Volatile Organic Compounds. These are what cause the strong paint odor that can linger and trigger asthma attacks, as well as basic allergy symptoms.
- Clean up the air quality of your home and get rid of your ceiling fans. They stir up dust and dirt and keep them circulating in the air you breathe. Purchase an air cleaner or purifier to help your breathe cleaner, fresher air and improve the overall air quality in your home.
With just a few simple changes, you can make your home healthier and more hypoallergenic for your family. While there may be some initial cost upfront to making these changes, the price will balance out in the long run as you see a reduction in over-the-counter allergy remedies, prescription nose sprays, and co-payments at the doctor for allergy related illnesses. Your home will be happier and healthier with a chic new look.