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Sniff, sniff

Preparing for allergy season.

Spring is in the air, and unfortunately that means so are the sniffles, for many of us who suffer from allergies. In fact, according to Asthma Canada, one in five Canadians are affected by respiratory allergies.

“Spring allergies are typically triggered by the pollen of trees (in the spring), and grass (in the spring/summer). They’re only present during the peak timing of pollination. Whatever the trigger of the allergy, the body’s response is the same: It recognizes these things as something ‘harmful’ and mounts an immune response, which leads to the classic allergy symptoms (stuffy/runny nose and sneezing, sore or itchy throat, and itchy/red eyes),” explains Tennessee-based ER doctor Dr. Darria Long Gillespie.

“While having seasonal allergies is usually lifelong, people may find that their allergies can improve or worsen over time. Plus, there are things you can do to both prevent [and] reduce your exposure to the triggers, as well as reduce your body’s response.”

Long Gillespie offers these tips to reduce your exposure to allergens and make it through the season:

  • Nasal rinses – “It may sound gross,” she says, “but nasal rinses are a fantastic way to clear the pollen out of the nose before it can trigger allergy symptoms.”  
  • When you come in from the outdoors, change your clothes and take a shower, at least before bed, to rinse pollen out of your hair and off your skin. 
  • During the height of pollen season, keep windows and doors closed.
  • If you have pets, wipe them down when they come inside, to reduce the amount of pollen that they carry into your house. 
  • Reduce carpeting if possible, as it can hold onto dust and pollen. 
  • Clean all air, duct, or air conditioner filters before each allergy season. 

Cleaning services company Skyline offers these four housecleaning tips to help ensure your home isn’t adding to your allergy woes:

  1. Check on your filters – your furnace and air conditioning filters may need to be replaced or upgraded, or simply given a good clean.
  2. Make sure your vacuum doesn’t spit the dust and dirt right back into the air.
  3. Remember to clean your vertical surfaces, like walls and the sides of bookshelves – we often forget to wipe them down.
  4. Get your carpets professionally cleaned.