millenial in bed with coffee and laptop

Allergy Proofing: A Guide for the Newly Independent Millennial

Independence is nice until you realize it’s not that easy looking out for yourself. The minuscule decisions that make up everyday life can be overwhelming. You have bills to pay, food to cook, and an apartment to maintain. And you’ve never had to deal with the seemingly innocent things in your home that trigger your allergies.

Embrace your independence and learn what changes you need to make. You’ll be pleased to find those big problems can have simple solutions.

Hot, Hot, Hot

If you’ve experienced summers in places like Salt Lake City, Utah, then heat is the last thing you’ll want to add to your life. Tempting as it may be to douse everything in cold water, turning up the temperature in your laundry and baths can do wonders for your allergies.

Using hot water in washing your sheets rids it of dust mites. These are tiny organisms that feed off house dust and are one of the most common allergens in homes. Washing your sheets with hot water weekly can lessen mornings made agonizing by watery eyes and a stuffy nose.
Even if you live in hot places like Salt Lake City, Utah, don’t wait for winter to do water heater installation. The steam in hot baths can ease your clogged sinuses. The less apparent but equally important reason is that it washes off the allergens on your skin. It’s a convenient remedy accessible with a turn of a faucet, and you’ll want to use it daily in winter.

Pretty but Troublesome

living room interior

Drapes make any living room look classy. Complement them with a wool rug, and you have a living room worthy of a magazine feature.

Beautiful as they may be, they play a huge part in collecting dust. Even with routine vacuuming, you risk triggering an allergic reaction when you stir the dust particles. Those that get suspended in the air resettle, and you may inhale them without realizing it.

The same goes for carpets and horizontal blinds. Do away with them for safer alternatives like roller shades and vertical blinds. For flooring, you can consider tiles, hardwood, and bamboo. These materials prevent dust build-up and molds and are also easier to clean.

If you’re having a hard time letting go of carpets, try switching to something low-pile. The ACAAI (American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology) recommends the use of short, low-pile carpets that are made of high-density, low surface area fibers. These carpets should also be coated in fluorocarbon. Don’t be complacent, though. It’s still well worth investing in a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter vacuum to make cleaning more thorough.

Unsuspecting Carriers

The Asian custom of removing shoes and dirty wear before entering a home is a good practice to adopt.

Apart from dirt and grime, shoes also bring in a lot of bacteria, toxins, and allergens. Pollens and environmental fungi can spread inside and worsen your allergies, too.

Making a quick trip to the mall for a shoe rack and a pair of indoor slippers is a good way to start. There are many options for shoe storage that don’t eat up a lot of space, and you can look up inspirations online to see how people manage this set-up.

If you receive guests regularly, present your entry in a way that gives them an idea of how you do things. Your friends may take this no-shoes policy in stride, but what about guests you’re not close with? You can try different approaches like asking them politely in person or sending them a text message in advance. A decorative sign also helps, especially if you mention your allergies.

Independence has plenty of learning curves to throw your way, but don’t be disheartened. It’s a route everyone takes when they live alone for the first time. Experiment with what works best in dealing with your allergies, and soon you’ll enjoy more days free of sneezing fits.

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