Your Outdoor Allergens are Also Indoor Allergens

Monday, May 6th, 2019 by Jessica Dingle

"It's snowing!" my niece exclaimed. "From the trees!" She excitedly danced and twirled in the yard as I searched my bag for the Benadryl.  The cottonwood trees across from my house are shedding their first little fluffs and my body is painfully aware that spring has sprung. I am on a never-ending quest to find ways to relieve my allergy symptoms. I had thought if I could just hole up inside my house, I would be fine. Well, the test determined that was a lie.

Outdoor allergens find their way into our homes in several ways. Due to the stack effect outdoor allergens come in through the crawlspace and up through the home. In addition to that outdoor allergens and pollen attach to our clothing and in our vehicles. There is no escape. There are things that you can do to reduce your allergy exposure though. 

Here are some simple tips you can do to reduce some of those common allergens. 


1. Change your furnace filters. As pollen and allergy spores come into the home they are cycled through your homes air systems and often accumulate on the filters. If not changed regularly they are then pushing out all of the previously collected pollen and redistributing it into the home. Changing these filters regularly will aid in ensuring you are not also dealing with old pollen. 

2. Get a floor mat and take your shoes off outside. We regularly walk through the grass and into outdoor pollen to go into our homes, carrying all those allergens into our home.  Wipe your feet on the mat and leave your shoes outside or near the entry of your home as a designated "dirty" spot. Also, remove your coats and other outerwear (I go a step further in June when my grass allergies get bad. I disrobe and shower when I get home. The day's clothes go immediately in the washer and put on fresh clean clothes. 

3. Seal your crawlspace. Up to 50% of the air you breath comes from the crawlspace. Open vents pull in the outside air and allergens and they are then pulled up into the home through the stack effect as I mentioned earlier in this article. By encapsulating your crawlspace and sealing it off from the outdoors you can create a conditioned space and dramatical change the air in your home. 

4. Keep your car in the garage if you have one. With the pollen floating through the air and landing on every surface available, your car is a magnet for all those spores and pollen dust. Keeping your car in the garage will help to reduce exposure. If you don't have a garage, wipe down handles on doors and regularly give your car a quick rinse to get those allergens off your car regularly. Otherwise, they get into your vehicle on door handles and surfaces and then into the car. 

5. The last tip seems self-explanatory, but just in case- keep your windows and doors closed to keep large sweeps of pollen out of your home. Use indoor fans and air filtration systems to keep allergens low. 

Here is hoping that these quick tips help you as they helped me. 



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