6 Steps to Stopping and Preventing Nose Allergies: A New Home Guide for Individuals with Allergic Rhinitis
July 11, 2023•1,135 words
Reading time: 5 min | Health
I followed these 6 steps when moving to my new home and it stopped my nose allergies.
I live with allergic rhinitis (also known as nose/nasal allergies, or hay fever if seasonal).
That means with the slightest allergen exposure, I can get a runny nose, uncontrollable sneezing and watery eyes for the rest of the day. Often, I experience these symptoms at home.
I used to just control my symptoms with medication (being a pharmacist and all), but lifestyle change should always go before medication. So, I practiced what I preached and spent probably 30 hours researching this guide, and implemented it myself.
There are 6 things one can do to their home (when moving or not) to stop these symptoms. The results for me when I implemented these are:
- The frequency of my allergy symptoms went down noticeably
- I took antihistamines (over-the-counter medication for allergy relief) way less frequently.
(Please don't stop any prescription medications without first consulting your healthcare provider.)
Here are the 6 steps to stopping your nose allergies, in 6 tiers of escalation
1. Eliminate the most important common allergens: mould, dust mites, and pollen
Mould, dust mites, and pollen are the most important allergens to control in your home.
Mould (and mildew) can cause breathing discomfort even for individuals without allergic rhinitis or asthma.
- Regularly clean and remove mould with soap and water, or household bleach. Don't mix bleach with other cleaning chemicals as this can create toxic fumes.
- Keep your living environment dry to prevent mould growth.
Dust (specifically, the waste products created by dust mites, bugs that feed on dust, too small to see with the naked eye), and pollen are also common allergens.
- Remove dust/dust mites and pollen by regularly vacuuming the floor (preferably with a high quality vacuum with a HEPA filter to trap all dust particles). If a vacuum is unavailable, wipe with a disposable dusting cloth, or a damp microfibre cloth.
- Wear a mask while doing this, as this will disperse allergens into the air for the next hour or two.
2. Clean your bedding regularly
Dust mites thrive in your bedding, mattresses, and other clothed furniture (such as carpets and sofas). They live in humid environments (i.e. your sweat), feed on your dead skin cells (which form the majority of dust), and produce allergens as waste products.
And then you sleep on them every night.
Wash your bedsheets, duvet covers, pillowcases (and anything else machine-washable) weekly at 60 degrees Celsius (140 Fahrenheit). Dust mites are killed at this temperature, and a wash will remove the dead dust mites, dust, and other allergens.
- Or if not suited for hot washing, hot drying can also kill dust mites.
- Or if not suited for hot cleaning at all, cold wash with longer cycles with an anti-dust mite laundry sanitiser and dry in the sun to get UV killing going.
- (Freezing kills dust mites too, but I don't think the average household has the pre-requisite massive freezer.)
Mattresses, carpets, and sofas: have them professionally cleaned and properly aired to dislodge dust and dust mites.
Stuffed animals: either hot wash them, or if not suited for hot washing, cover them and put them in the freezer to kill dust mites. Don't put them on your bed.
3. Protect your bedding with anti-dust mite covers
Get anti-dust mite mattress covers and pillow-covers. They go underneath your usual bedsheets and pillowcases.
- These are designed to have fibres so closely interwoven that they physically block dust mites from entering or exiting your mattresses and pillows. Some use a chemical method to kill dust mites and prevent them from growing. This will starve (and slowly kill off) existing dust mites on your bed, and stop new ones from entering.
- Some studies show partial coverage (top and sides) is as good as full coverage of the mattress. Higher cost just equates to more comfort. But these should last years without much issue.
Wash the covers every few weeks (or as recommended by the brand).
The benefits should be immediate as you now have a physical barrier stopping your face from hugging the dust mite allergens on your bed.
You may be able to do the same with sofas.
4. Remove allergen-attracting furniture (and pets)
We can't remove our mattresses (unless you hate sleeping on one), so we've got those literally covered.
Anything with porous fabric (and are often touched and rarely washed) are breeding grounds for dust mites. Your options are:
- Cover them with anti-mite protectors like with your mattresses, if available
- Replace them with anti-mite versions (either anti-dust mite treated fabrics, hot-washable fabrics, or a material that isn't hospital such as leather or a hard surface)
- Remove them from your home
Curtains: You can get blinds (which can be wiped) instead, or get hot-washable curtains. They attract a lot of dust (and dust mites). Dust and wash them regularly.
Carpets: Remove them if possible. Have hard surface floors which are easily cleaned. You want allergens to be easily killed and removed.
Sofas: Leather sofas could be an option.
Pets: The best thing for your nose is to not have a pet. But if you do have one:
- Strictly prohibit them from entering your bedroom to create an allergen-free zone
- Use HEPA air filters to help reduce dust and pet allergens in the air
- Have them bathed regularly
5. Control the temperature and humidity in your home
Keep a thermometer and hygrometer (air humidity sensor) around.
Dust mites and mould grow at high humidity levels.
Controlling your home's humidity to be around 50% will help prevent dust mites and mould from growing.
After showering, keep the exhaust fan on for a while.
In general, open the blinds/curtains, keep windows open, and use a dehumidifier if necessary.
Have air conditioners professionally cleaned regularly. They can house mould, and you don't want them spraying your entire home with mould particles.
6. If you're moving (or renovating), choose an allergen-unfriendly home
Choose a home that:
- Satisfies all of the above (at least somewhat clean, no fabric furniture, no carpets)
- Has large windows
- Is in a position that is very sunny in the morning/afternoon.
This will keep your home dry (and the UV may help kill some pathogens).
I implemented all of these when I recently moved, and the difference to my nose was immense.
Hope this was helpful!
Welcome to leave further suggestions in my Guestbook, I'd be happy to add them here to highlight them for others.
Apparently, the prevalence of allergic rhinitis seems to be around 10-30% of people. That's more than expected.