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Pollen, Pets

9 Spots Where Allergy Triggers Hide

4. Mite-y Plush Toys

Sure you encased the mattresses in barrier bedding, but then you tucked little junior in with that cute stuffed lion (aka the dust mite colony). Those snuggly animals are a magnet for mites.

To eradicate the allergen army, you can wash stuffed animals in hot water, followed by a high temperature dry, but that may cause the toys to lose their fluff.

A good alternative? Freeze the toys in a plastic bag for 24 hours; freezing also kills dust mites. You can then wash them on the gentle cycle with warm or cold water, and let them air fluff in the dryer.

5. Faux Christmas Treesbigstock-Christmas-Tree-3942104

It’s that time of year for the Christmas tree in many living rooms. And along with the pine comes the perennial debate about which is worse for allergies, the real or the fake tree.

Dr. Eric Schenkel, director of Valley Allergy and Asthma Treatment Center in Bethlehem Township, Pennsylvania, cuts down the myth that pollen-producers are always to blame. “I find more problems develop with artificial trees because they have been kept up in an attic filled with dust, and that bothers people more.”

Schenkel says pine pollen is not as allergenic as most people think, although fresh-cut trees can introduce mold into the house. To minimize the spores, shake out the live tree or blast it outside with a leaf blower. Keep its stay in your home to a minimum; one study suggests a maximum of seven days for those sensitive to mold.

6. Dry-Cleaning

Those dry-clean only labels are not only a pain to your pocketbook, they can introduce chemicals like perchloroethylene (or PERC), a VOC, into your home. The solvents used in dry-cleaning can off-gas for weeks, triggering respiratory irritation, not to mention headaches or dizziness.

Avoid taking your health to the cleaners by purchasing fabrics that can be machine or hand washed. If professional help is a must, hang dry-cleaning outside for a few days of fresh air or better yet, seek out “green” cleaners who use processes that avoid harmful chemicals. For more information and tips on how to keep your home allergy free see this article. 

Next: Gas, fish and humidity

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