Now that many Australians are spending extended periods in lockdown, we are spending more time than ever before in our homes. Whether you live in a high-rise apartment, a shared house or a large suburban house; our homes contain countless triggers for people living with allergies.
To optimise your health and ensure you are as comfortable as possible through extended periods of restrictions, you’ll need some strategies to help manage allergies in lockdown.
Step 1: Create a low allergen home:
There are lots of ways to minimise the triggers that cause hayfever and allergies in and around the home. And since you’ll be spending a lot of time there through lockdown, use this list to actively reduce the number of allergens you’re exposed to at home:
- Bedroom: Wash bedding weekly, and curtains every few months, to remove dust mites
- Kitchen: Use Sensitive Choice-approved cleaning products to create a hygienic environment that does not trigger allergies
- Bathroom: Good ventilation and fixing leaks is the key to preventing mould build-up, which can trigger allergies
- Laundry: Look for detergents and cleaning products that don't have harsh chemicals or excessive fragrance. Ensure good ventilation to reduce mould build up
- Garden: Choose low allergen plants and replace plants near the home that could trigger your allergies. Keep windows closed when the lawn is being mowed. If you are sensitive to particular weeds or trees that are outside your bedroom window, have them removed.
- Living areas: Clean carpets and surfaces that may build up dust. Choose the right vacuum for your space.
- If you have a pet: Vacuum up hair, fur or keep them outside during moulting periods. Choose a pet with short hair (some breeds of dogs and cats are considered hypoallergenic) or better yet, get a goldfish!
Step 2: Plan before you go outside to exercise
If the current lockdown rules in your area permit you to exercise outside, take advantage of that time, but be aware of the kinds of things that can trigger your allergies:
- Wear a mask (if possible) when participating in low-intensity outdoor exercise, to prevent dust or pollution from entering the mouth and nose
- Avoid areas like freshly mowed ovals or grassy shared spaces - which will likely have caused the movement of pollen
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from dust a pollen
- Exercise in a warm and humid place – avoid cold, dry air if possible
- Avoid dry, hot, windy days which usually deliver higher pollen counts causing irritation
- Time your exercise according to the pollen count (Check the pollen forecast in your Australian city) and ideally after 9am when the pollen count is typically lower than early morning
- Wash and change your clothing upon returning home
Step 3: Keep windows closed at night and early mornings
Pollen levels are typically highest before 9am, so it’s important to stop that night and early morning air from entering the house. Visit pollenforecast.com.au to find daily pollen counts and forecasts for different Australian states.
Step 4: Consider medications to help manage allergies in lockdown
Unfortunately, allergies and their symptoms don’t take a break, even in lockdown! So, consult your GP to help manage conditions and prescribe treatments.
- Allergy testing can help identify specific triggers, along with recording when and where symptoms are experienced
- In addition to prescription medicines, there are a number of over-the-counter products that may alleviate symptoms
- Consider taking a non-drowsy antihistamine if your doctor has recommended this
All content and advice are provided on behalf of Sensitive Choice, an initiative of the National Asthma Council Australia, in partnership with Kleenex®. The advice provided in this material is general in nature and is not intended as medical advice. If you need medical advice, please consult your health care professional.
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