How to Allergy-Proof Your Home

Follow these guidelines to minimize your exposure to allergens outdoors and to avoid bringing them home By: Danielle Blundell

Stop the sniffles this seasonStop the sniffles this season

While many of us eagerly await spring, for the 60 million Americans suffering from allergies, April-with its mold-friendly moisture and pollen-bearing blossoms-is one of the toughest times of the year. Experiencing sneezing, a runny nose, or itchy, watery eyes? Follow these guidelines to minimize your exposure to allergens outdoors and to avoid bringing them home.

Garden Smartly. Pollen levels peak between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., so save yard work for later in the day. Keep grass cut short, and consider wearing an air-filtering mask, goggles, and gloves while mowing the lawn. Avoid planting high-pollen-producing flowers such as amaranthus, juniper, and peonies, especially near windows or doors.

Clean Your Gear. Don't hang fresh laundry out to dry, and shake out clothes after they've been worn outside. Shower as soon as possible after spending time outdoors. Pets can bring pollen in too, so keep a brush and wet wipes handy to clean off their fur and paws. Place mats on both sides of the front door; they'll function as a catchall for allergens and a landing pad for footwear, which should be taken off as you come indoors, when possible.

Choose the Right Ventilation. Invest in crawl-space vent fans to keep humidity levels below 50 percent, which will thwart the spread of mold and mildew. When it's warm, opt for air-conditioning, instead of open windows, to cool the house.

Manage Mold. Drain or dump any areas of stagnant water in your yard, and keep soil on your property moist, but not damp, to reduce airborne mold. And never linger outdoors-or open the windows-after a heavy rain.

MORE: DIY Tips for Allergy-Proofing Your Home This Spring

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