Dog hiding under blanket

Common allergies are a pain in the ears, nose and throat – and while it’s tempting to blame your allergies on the pollen, mold, and your daughter’s hamster, your beef is actually with your immune system. Sure, you’ve been around these allergens plenty of times before, but at some point your body decided they’re a threat and has since plagued you with the watery eyes/runny nose/scratchy throat trifecta.

And you’d think that your home would be a safe haven from common allergies, but no such luck. You’re surrounded. Here are 11 places allergy triggers are lurking in your home, and what to do about them:

1. Cluttered areas

Piles of junk are the ultimate breeding ground for dust mites, bugs, mold and mice. Keep your home as clutter free as possible, especially in your high traffic areas. Create organizational systems throughout your home so the fam can conveniently pitch in.

2. Carpeting

Dust mites and pet dander love your carpeting and throw rugs – make sure to vacuum on a weekly basis (or more, depending on how bad your common allergies are).

3. Bedding

Combat dust mites and dander by washing your bedding on a weekly basis in 130-degree water.

4. Under furniture

Don’t allow dust mites to build little cities under your furniture. Keep these areas clear of dust, debris and crumbs by vacuuming or dusting on a regular basis.

5. Shower curtains

While shower curtains keep the rest of your bathroom looking fantastic and splatter-free, they’re also a major breeding ground for mold. Keep your bathroom fan on after showers, spread your shower curtain open, and make a habit of wiping it down with cleaner.

6. Kitchen counters

Crumbs and garbage are a big draw to mice and bugs, while their droppings will send your allergies into a tailspin. With your kitchen being such a high-traffic area, keep cleaning supplies within arm’s reach and encourage the fam to participate in a clean-as-you-go process to keep common allergies to a minimum.

7. Windows

The breeze through your open windows feels ah-mazing – but also invites pollen to move in on your territory. Keep your windows shut during high-pollen-count hours (on average, 10 am and 3 pm). Remove your shoes outside to prevent tracking pollen indoors, and wipe down your pets before they come inside.

8. Basements

Basements and mold get along a little too well. Buy a humidity gauge to assess the level of dampness you need to combat, then purchase a dehumidifier to match.

9. Houseplants

Houseplants tend to be inviting to mold. Remove dried/moldy leaves right away, and check to make sure there isn’t excess water sitting in the pot’s tray.

10. Pets

While totally adorable, pets are a magnet for common allergies, spreading pet dander all over your home. Wash or brush your pet weekly to lower the dander level, keep them off the furniture and out of your bedroom – though, don’t expect that last one to be easy.

11. Upholstery

Dust your furniture on a weekly basis. (I keep cloths in every room to make the process uber-convenient.) Wash blankets, throw rugs and pillows in hot water. Use your vacuum’s upholstery attachment to pick up pet fur, and keep your rooms below 70 degrees (mites and roaches despise cool temperatures).

Are common allergies a hot button issue in your home?

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Image: Juan Antonio Flores Segal