What You Can Do Indoors to Help Outdoor Allergies

by Kristina Brooks Editor

For people with allergies, spending a lot of time outside is not something to savor. But there are things you can do indoors to reduce your sensitivity outdoors. Here are some suggestions.

Windows closed, air conditioner on

It’s tempting, but opening your windows and using screen doors when the weather gets warm allows pollen and mold to make their way into your house. Running the air conditioner instead can reduce your exposure to these allergens, and may help filter the air in your home.

Change vent filters

If you will be running your air conditioner more often during the spring and summer, it’s best to change vent filters beforehand. With old or overused filters, dirt and dust buildup can seep through and circulate throughout your home, irritating your sinuses. Using old filters also restricts air flow, which can make your air conditioner work harder and raise your utility bill.

Save the fan for summer

HealthCentral expert Dr. James Thompson also suggests turning fans off during the peak allergy seasons. He says fans tend to kick up dust and other small particles, keeping them suspended in the air. This can trigger a flare up if you have dust or mold allergies. If you have outdoor allergies, it can aggravate your sinuses making them more sensitive.

Invest in a humidifier

Humidifiers increase the amount of water vapor in the air. For those with allergies, a humidifier can help soothe dry nasal passages, and ease uncomfortable allergy symptoms, such as scratchy throat or itchy skin. The right humidity level in your home can also keep dust mites under control.

Nasal irrigation

When outdoors, you constantly breathe in small pollen and grass particles. Nasal irrigation involves flushing your sinus cavities with a water-saline solution, which clears built-up or trapped pollen and grass particles from your airways. Clearing your sinuses also helps your nose filter air more effectively, reducing flare-ups.

Groom your pet

Not only will your pet be happy to shed the winter coat, but a good spring grooming also can help reduce the amount of outdoor pollen, grasses and dust that may stick to fur or hair and be brought inside. Be sure to take your pet to be groomed somewhere else to avoid releasing dust or debris in your home.

Change clothes inside

Floating allergen particles in the outside air often latch on to clothing during the day. Avoid continued exposure to the particles into the evening by changing clothes once you get home. Some experts even suggest showering to rinse allergen particles from your hair and skin. If you air dry your laundry, it’s also best to avoid putting it on a line outside during allergy season.

Adjust your food choices

By drinking more teas--especially green tea--you’ll get a boost of natural antihistamines, which can help reduce allergy symptoms. You may also want to avoid spicy foods, which tend to be high in histamines. Adding more yogurt and probiotics to your diet can also help strengthen your immune system. Adding more omega-3s to your diet can reduce inflammation and help airway flow.

Kristina Brooks
Meet Our Writer
Kristina Brooks

Kristina Brooks was a digital editor at HealthCentral with a background in animal biology, ecology, and health science. While studying broadcast journalism, she discovered the great need for health reporters that could translate research to the public. In her work, she hopes to use research to help consumers make smart decisions about their healthcare, and empower patients to stay confident and in charge of their chronic conditions. She helped launch HealthCentral's inaugural MythWeek.