Every morning I wake up with a new hatred for spring. My eyes water, my throat is scratchy, and my nose feels as though I've fallen on my face. But I have learned to adapt, and you can, too. Once you learn how to keep pollen out of your house, it will keep your day from crumbling like the tissues you discard.
Pollen, however necessary, is evil. It's the yellowish-green menace that desperately wants me (and you) to be miserable. According to the Annals of Allergy and Asthma Immunology, pollen, if you're allergic to it, sets your body to release histamines, tryptase and possibly leukotriene C4, which are factors in your immune response that cause the allergic rhinitis (runny nose), watering eyes, and itchy throat. The greater the exposure, the greater the allergic reaction.
Even when you try not to venture outside, you may still feel the effects of pollen as it tracks everywhere in your house. But you can fight back. There are several strategies you can employ to make your home as comfortable as humanly possible when the outside creeps inside.
When thinking about how to keep pollen out of your house, always think about stripping. Your clothes, your linens, your air filters, and the filters on the vacuum as soon as you come home. If you have a garage you can get naked in and change clothes? Do it. What you don't want is the pollen that's coated your clothing from being outside spreading around your house like so much evil glitter. Don't wear your shoes in the house, either. Anything that's been outside should have as little contact with the inside as possible. If you're really sensitive, like I am, you can also shower upon arriving at home like Reader's Digest suggested. It's a huge pain, but it helps immensely. I live in Brooklyn, so I don't have a hose and garden, but if I did, I'd be tempted to hose off my children before they got inside, too.
The Mayo Clinic suggested the use of a HEPA filter as well. These air filters capture even the tiniest particulates floating around the air, helping you breathe easy. You can get a HEPA filter that is designed for just one room, for your air conditioner, your forced air heater, your car — they even have HEPA-filtered masks that make you look a bit like Bane from one of the Batman movies. (I don't know which one, I only know about Bane because it was Tom Hardy.) I use this one, because I can add the essential oils that everyone from high school has sold me.
Wet dust can also help you fight the pollen fight. According to the N.C. Cooperative Extension, you can moisten a disposable duster or use a microfiber cloth, but wet dusting assures that as little as possible is kicked into the air by the act of dusting, and it traps the dust on the cloth.
Wondering how to get pollen out of your fabric? National Allergy suggested that you wash your linens in hot, soapy water, and dry them in a super hot dryer. The same goes for your mattress pads, and you can also try vacuuming your mattress weekly, and your furniture and curtains every other day. If your dog lets you, try vacuuming them between baths as well — their fur can hold a lot of pollen.
Basically? The most important tip is to keep your house closed up like a politician at a town hall. Keep your windows and doors shut, and the filtered air on. Yes, this is all a major drag, but spring is gorgeous, and it's easy to hate on it without acknowledging the blooming dogwood trees or tulips covering flower beds everywhere. But try to enjoy the beauty — just do it quickly and then run back inside while tearing off your clothes and taking a Zyrtec.