Coronavirus and allergies: Frequently asked questions
Living with allergies during a lockdown can be tough. More time spent at home means those whose allergies are caused by pollen, house dust mites and pets can suffer from more severe symptoms. We’re here to bust some common myths around allergens in the home, helping you to keep comfortable this summer.
Allergies in Lockdown
We’ve already started to see some warmer weather arriving and this is often the time of year when people living with Hay fever dread the start of the grass pollen season. Combine this with living over a year in the midst of a global COVID 19 pandemic and it is no wonder that we saw a rise of calls to our helpline.
The reality is, living with covid restrictions won’t stop allergies such as Hay fever from flaring up. In fact, the time we have all had to spend at home means other respiratory allergies such as those caused by house dust mite or pets can be increasingly challenging to manage. This means it’s even more important this year for you to consider ways in which you can help alleviate the symptoms and create a more comfortable living space.
Here is some information to enable you to manage your allergies at home.
- Keep windows closed in the evening. Pollen can enter the indoor environment through open windows and vents, which during the summer can be difficult to control. If possible, keeping windows closed, particularly in the evening when the pollen count is often high, will help reduce pollen exposure. Some air purifiers have also been shown to reduce pollen in indoor spaces.
- Take a shower or change your clothes. Pets, clothing and hair all carry pollen into your home. Where practical, it can be helpful to take a quick shower and change your clothes once you return home to help remove pollen from your hair and skin.
- Taking care of your house plants. We’ve seen a major rise in house plants and flowers since lockdown was announced. We’re all trying to brighten up our homes! But mould on indoor plants can trigger allergy symptoms, so it’s important to regularly check your plants, removing dead leaves and checking for mould around the soil.
- Keep your furry friends out of the bedroom. Pets are common triggers for people who have Hay fever and other respiratory allergies, as pet hair acts as a carrier of airborne allergens such as pollen. To try and reduce symptoms, make sure your pets do not sleep on your bed or in the bedroom. If this does not help seek medical advice, and it might be necessary to consider whether a pet is the right thing for you.
- Reduce house dust mites in your bedroom. House dust mite allergies are very common and can be associated with hay fever and asthma symptoms. They are microscopic and gravitate to beds and warm, humid environments. Although you cannot see them the allergen can become airborne and trigger asthma. So, wash your bedding weekly at 60 degrees Celsius or above to kill house dust mites.
- Prepare your medication in advance. One of the best ways to manage allergies in lockdown is to be prepared. If your regular medications are running low now is the time to think about replenishing your supplies, and make sure to allow more time than usual to order and collect repeat prescriptions. If you suffer from allergic asthma, it’s particularly important that you take your preventative inhaler regularly, as well as carrying a rescue inhaler, where prescribed, with you whenever you leave the house.
If you’re looking for more information on how to manage allergens in the home, please visit The Allergy House for tips and advice.