Spring signals beauty and renewal, but it can also bring stuffy noses and itchy, watery eyes. The trees are in full bloom, and the warm breeze is transporting pollen and mold spores. And this allergy season is sending immune systems into overdrive.
If you suffer from seasonal eye allergies, you probably find yourself rubbing your eyes because they feel dry, itchy and irritated. Here are 10 steps to reduce indoor allergens in your home so your eyes can feel a little more comfortable this spring.
- Close the windows and turn on the air conditioning. Wipe window frames and window sills often to keep them free from pollen, condensation and mold.
- Choose air filters that have small-particle or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters and replace them at least once per month.
- Damp-mop wood or linoleum flooring and vacuum carpeting several times per week. Use a vacuum cleaner with a (HEPA) filter, and wear a dust mask and eye protection to reduce your exposure to airborne allergens. And if you have a non-allergy suffer in the home, enlist their help for cleaning.
- Wash sheets, pillowcases and blankets at least once per week in water heated to at least 130 degrees F. If you have wool or feathered bedding, consider replacing it with synthetic materials.
- Remove items like books, décor items and children’s toys from common areas and bedrooms during allergy season. These items collect dust and allergy particles, so store them away in plastic bins.
- Bathe your pets at least once per week to reduce dander and keep them out of your bedroom.
- Spread aquarium gravel over the dirt in your potted house plants to prevent mold growth.
- Towel-dry or squeegee your shower and tub after each use. Clean tub and shower with bleach and replace moldy shower curtains and bathmats.
- Clean countertops and cabinets with mild detergent and water. Check under-sink cabinets for any plumbing leaks.
- Keep the thermostat between 68 F to 72 degrees F and maintain a relative humidity of no higher than 50 percent. Hot, moist environments are breeding grounds for dust mites and mold (Mayo Clinic).
If your allergy symptoms cause persistent eye irritation that is interfering with your daily routine, make an appointment with an ophthalmologist. Be sure to schedule regular comprehensive eye exams with dilation to keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear. It’s the best way to prevent eye disease like cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration, and provide early diagnosis for the most effective treatments.