The pollen count
American Academy of Allergies, Asthma and Immunology
National Allergy Bureau
Tips for Spring and Summer
The Allergy Shop
American Environmental Health Foundation
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Heart of Vermont
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How to wake up with a clear headRecently my sister mentioned that, whatever the season, her morning routine begins by blowing her nose. (You know how sisters talk.) For the sake of polite conversation, I diverted the topic to ways of reducing the dust and mold where she sleeps.
Whatever allergies you have or think you don't have, these obvious-yet-effective tips should help clean up your sinuses and deepen your sleep ... and maybe even improve your conversational etiquette.
- Your pillows and mattress are most likely full of dust & mites.
Run pillows through the dryer (heat or no heat, depending on the type)
weekly, and use a zippered pillow protector (or at least a couple
of conventional cases facing opposite directions). Vacuum the mattress
and wash the mattress pad often. If you really look like death-warmed-over
in the morning, think about investing in a zippered barrier-cloth
- Closets and bathrooms are breeding grounds for dust and mold. Keep
their bedroom-facing doors closed while you sleep, and air them out
with the light on while you're out of the room. Air out clothes and
shoes you've worn before putting them away, and never store
damp clothes in the closet.
If your closet opens into the bathroom, do what you can to keep the
clothes and the humidity away from each other (keep the closet door
shut tight, run the exhaust fan often, look into adopting a de-humidifier).
- Redecorate in the minimalist style: Books, newspapers and knicknacks
are dust magnets.
- Rugs and carpeting trap dust and dander. If you have throw rugs
on a wood or tile floor, try moving them to another room. Vacuum wall-to-wall
often. (A pain, I know, but so is waking up feeling crummy. Your choice.)
- Air filters help -- if you're really bothered by dust, mold and
pollens, a good machine could be a worthwhile investment. Warning:
Really good ones donít come cheap. And keep the a/c filter clean!
- If you smoke (hey, what are you doing smoking if you have allergies?)
don't smoke in the bedroom, postcoital stereotypes notwithstanding.
You'll give your lungs an eight-hour break every day and lower
the room's particulate count.
- Plant dirt harbors mold and dust mites, and bedroom agricultureís
definitely out. But some plants will go to the mat for you when it
comes to filtering irritants like formaldehyde and ammonia. My compromise:
the idiotís version of hydroponics. For years, I kept a stalk of diffenbachia
alive in a bottle of water, adding plant food when I remembered and
changing the water when it looked slimy. Might be worth a try for
that airplane plant youíve known since college.
- Speaking of old friends, if your cat, dog or ferret sleeps on the
bed with you, Iím supposed to advise you that itís not good for your
allergies. But even my allergist admits itís nice to have a pet around
the house. So if you can persuade yer pal to camp out in another room
for awhile, give it a try and see if it helps. You both might get
a better nightís sleep.
Hereís to your efforts, and may you feel like thanking me in the morning.