4 ways to make your home an allergy-free zone - HMS National, Inc.

4 ways to make your home an allergy-free zone

May 12, 2014

As the temperatures climb and summer works its way closer, the transition period from cold to warmth can be a highly frustrating one for allergy sufferers, as spring is the peak time of year for sneezing, runny noses and watery eyes caused by environmental factors. Surprisingly, though, many people who are sensitive to ragweed, pollen and other allergens do what's necessary to nip their symptoms in the bud.

While more than two-thirds of Americans have seasonal or perennial allergy symptoms, only half of them seek a medical solution, according to a new poll performed by Harris Interactive and commissioned by United Allergy Services. Additionally, as many as 45 percent of allergy sufferers that don't see a doctor take an over-the-counter medication instead, which offers only temporary relief.

"Spring is a wonderful time, unless you suffer from untreated allergies," said Jill Bryson, M.D., primary care physician at Benton Family Clinic in Arkansas. "Unfortunately, millions of Americans are unaware that true allergy relief is accessible through their family doctor or primary care physician."

In addition to seeking help from a family physician, there are a variety of allergy-relief strategies you can try at home.

The following home maintenance tips from the Mayo Clinic may be helpful.

1. Change sheets on the bed. Your allergies could be ramping up every time your head hits the pillow, especially if your sheets haven't been changed in a while. In addition to changing them at least once every two weeks,  encase pillows, mattresses and box springs with covers that fend off dust mites. Additionally, when cleaning the sheets, make sure the water temperature is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit to effectively kill bacteria.

2. Have your carpet cleaned. Perhaps nothing traps dust and dander quite like a carpet. If it hasn't been cleaned for awhile, the Mayo Clinic recommended vacuuming weekly with a vacuum that has a high-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filter.

3. Keep the windows closed. Fresh air may be one of the best aspects of spring, but when the pollen count is high, getting to feel Mother Nature's cool breeze may not be worth it. Instead, use air conditioning. If that still doesn't work, consider cleaning the window sills which may contain mold.

4. Do some 'deep' spring cleaning. It doesn't take long for a home to become cluttered, especially during a cold winter like this year's that prompted many people to stay indoors as much as possible. By putting various items in storage or selling items that are no longer used, you'll help declutter your home and get rid of sources dust and allergens attach to.

For other strategies on allergy-proofing your home, visit the Mayo​ Clinic's website.

The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.