(ARA) - Spring-like temperatures arrived early this year, and with them came early allergy symptoms for many: itchy throats and eyes, stuffy noses, sneezing, teary eyes and more. These developments come on the heels of the fourth warmest winter since record keeping began, according to the U.S. National Climatic Data Center.
With allergists predicting a more intense allergy season than usual this year, it makes sense to take steps to reduce allergy symptoms in your home. Here are some easy things you can do around the house to increase your family's comfort - not only now, but all summer long.
* Keep windows closed. As much as you may love the new warm temperatures, keeping your windows shut will help keep pollens out. Start your air conditioning system earlier in the season.
* Clean and vacuum often. Mop hard surface floors and vacuum your home often to help minimize dust mites, one of the most common allergens. Wash bedding in hot water (130 degrees F), and use washable throws and curtains.
* Combat mold. Mold spores can cause hay fever symptoms. Repair and replace missing grout, leaky faucets and pipes. Use a mold-proof shower curtain, and wipe shower stalls and tub toys dry after using them. Plants also sometimes carry mold and pollen, so limit the number of plants indoors. Enjoy the season's colorful blooms on your deck or in the backyard instead.
* Control humidity. Controlling the moisture content in your indoor air is an added measure you can take to discourage mold growth and minimize dust mites. Having a humidifier or variable-speed technology as part of your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system can help control your humidity, and your indoor air.
* Schedule an HVAC tune-up. Allergy season is an ideal time to have your HVAC system inspected to ensure it's working properly. A dealer can also advise you on how a whole-home air filtration system, such as the AccuClean(TM) from American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning, can catch up to 99.98 percent of allergens from your home's filtered air - including dust, dander, pollen and bacteria - so everyone in the home can breathe easier without compromising comfort. To find an independent dealer near you, visit www.americanstandardair.com.
* Reduce pet dander. Regardless of the season, pets such as cats, dogs and birds shed pet dander, which can also cause allergic reactions. One of the simplest ways to minimize exposure to pet dander is to keep your pet out of your bedroom. Be sure to wash your bedding weekly, at a minimum, to reduce the amount of pet dander that will inevitably be tracked into your bedroom.
By taking these steps you can improve the quality of the air inside your home and help reduce allergy symptoms. So while it may be allergy season outside, inside your family will be breathing cleaner and clearer indoor air.