7 Surprising Places Pollen Can Hide
If you have seasonal allergies, you probably keep a close eye on pollen counts. That’s good, but there are other places pollen can wind up besides the great outdoors.
If you have seasonal allergies, you probably keep a close eye on pollen counts. That’s good, but there are other places pollen can wind up besides the great outdoors. Here are some and how to deal with them.
Clothing. Because pollen can stick to fabric, it’s a good idea to give sweaters, jackets, and other outerwear a good shake before you come inside after being outdoors, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Change your clothes as soon as you come in and put what you wore outside directly into the laundry. Teach your kids to do the same. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) recommends using your clothes dryer rather than hang damp laundry outside to dry.
Shoes. So you don’t track pollen into the house, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology says it’s a good idea to wipe your shoes on a mat and leave them by the door.
Hair. Wearing a hat outdoors will help keep pollen out of your hair (and your eyes), according to the AAFA. (This will also protect your skin from the sun.) Wash your hair every night so you don’t bring pollen into your bed.
Pets. Pollen can cling to an animal’s fur, according to the NIEHS. If you have a pet with a black coat you can even see it. After an outdoor romp, wipe your dog’s or cat’s feet with a damp cloth and brush him regularly, advises the AAFA. Make sofas, chairs, and beds off-limits for pets.
Vacuum cleaner. You’ve sucked up all that pollen (and other dust) with your vacuum cleaner, but now what? Be careful how you empty the canister, especially if you have a vacuum cleaner that doesn’t use a bag. Take it outside and dump it straight into the garbage so you don’t re-release allergens inside your home. The Environmental Protection Agency goes a step further and suggests family members who are very allergic should leave the house while it’s being vacuumed because “vacuuming can actually increase airborne levels of dust mite allergens and biological contaminants.”
Curtains, window shades, and blinds. Pollen can easily build up in window treatments, especially if windows are open on breezy, high-pollen days. The NIEHS says it’s best to keep windows closed and rather than window or attic fans, turn on the central AC (if you have it) to keep cool on hot days. Central air conditioning with a HEPA filter will give you extra protection, according to the AAFA. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air; it can trap particles like pollen.
Your car. Keep your car in the garage or make sure all the windows (and the sunroof, if you have one) is closed when your car is parked, advises the NIEHS.