Campus News

Reduce indoor allergy triggers

With spring comes pollen season, and while little can be done to control outdoor allergens, you can knock out indoor allergens with a bit of cleaning and prevention.

Many everyday household items trigger allergies, according to Pamela Turner, a Cooperative Extension housing specialist.

The usual culprits are dust, mold, insects and rodents. But pets, household cleaners and even stuffed animals can be the source, too.

There are simple things you can do to eliminate these causes.

Throw out pillows once a year, and wash sheets every week to get rid of dust mites. Dusty stuffed animals also can trigger allergies in children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.

“Stuffed animals are dust magnets,” Turner said. “To kill dust mites on stuffed animals, you can put them in a plastic bag and freeze them.”

Changing the air filters in your house every three months and replacing them with pleated filters, which catch more dust than regular filters, can make a huge difference in allergies.

Keeping your house below 60 percent humidity and cool helps prevent mold growth.

The cleanliness of your house and the products you use to clean it also affect indoor allergies. Many people are allergic to volatile organic compounds in household cleaners, even those found in what are called “green” cleaners. Hepa vacuum cleaners also work well to reduce dust and dust mites, but just vacuuming regularly helps.