Allergies

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How to wake up with a clear head

Recently 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.

  1. 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 mattress cover.
  2. 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).
  3. Redecorate in the minimalist style: Books, newspapers and knicknacks are dust magnets.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.




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