Yeah, spring! It’s just about time for longer days, warmer weather and poolside cocktails. But it’s hard to enjoy the perks of spring when flowers make you sneeze like a banshee and budding trees make your eyes water faster than the end of Titanic.

dandelionsYou can’t stop trees from pollinating or grass from growing, but you can keep allergens out of your abode! If allergies have arrived at your doorstep, follow these seven steps to minimize your symptoms.

1. Wash your bedding. Millions of dust mites and other types of bacteria may be using your mattress and pillows as a home! Remove and wash your bedding on a hot water cycle at least once a week, including your pillows. If you’re especially allergic to dust mites, consider encasing your pillows and mattress in dust-mite-proof covers.

2. De-clutter. During allergy season, it’s a good idea to de-clutter the rooms where you spend the most time, like the living room and bedrooms. Remove items that tend to collect dust like junk mail, old magazines and knickknacks.

3. Clean your curtains. Give your curtains a good sprucing by vacuuming them with a hose attachment and hand-washing them in cold water. Heavy drapes and curtains can easily trap dust, dirt and allergens.

4. Avoid feather dusters. Use a slightly moist cloth or a special dry cloth that will trap dirt when dusting your home. Feather dusters generally spread allergens around instead of removing them!

5. Keep shoes near the door. One of the easiest things you can do to reduce allergens in your home is leave your shoes at the door! According to the EPA, the bottom of your shoes can track in all sorts of germs and allergens, including pollen grains, mold spores and pet dander. Simply clear a space next to each of your exterior doors where people can place their shoes. Bins or wicker baskets work great for this!

6. Vacuum with a HEPA filter. Destroy dust mites by vacuuming your floors with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter at least once a week. Vacuums with HEPA filters trap very fine dust particles that other vacuums only re-circulate back into the air of your home.

7. Check your home’s humidity level. Humidity levels above 55 percent can foster mold and mildew growth, which triggers allergy symptoms. Measure your home’s humidity to determine if it’s at a healthy level. If your humidity is too high, it’s a good idea to buy a dehumidifier.

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