Spring Cleaning Can Spark Indoor Allergies

You know spring's blossoms can bring allergies into full bloom, but diving into spring cleaning can do it, too.

Cotton-O'Neil Allergist Dr. Allen Kossoy says our homes are full of indoor allergens. He says the most common is dust mites, a microscopic insect. He says also common are animal dander, mold and cockroach allergens.

Dr. Kossoy says even people who have no trouble outside can be aggravated by indoor allergies. When it comes to dust mites, almost every home will have some. He says anywhere there is dust, you can expect to find mites.

The mites do best in warmer, humid conditions. Dr. Kossoy says keeping windows closed and air conditioning on will help keep them at bay during the summer months.

Suprisingly, one of the most common places for dust is the bed. Dr. Kossoy says dust will collect on the mattress and in feather pillows in particular. Dust mites are different than bed bugs - the mites won't bite - but if you're sensitive to them, you want to take steps to avoid breathing them in. Dr. Kossoy says that can include putting covers on pillows and mattresses and washing linens frequently in hot water.

Those with allergies might also want to choose cleaning products with care. Dr. Kossoy says certain cleaning products can have more irritants than others. He also says sometimes it's not so much what's in the product, it's that it's aerosolized that causes problems.

If you know you'll be diving in to a big cleaning project with lots of dust flying around, Dr. Kossoy says you might take an over the counter allergy medication beforehand to prevent symptoms. You can also try wearing a mask to avoid breathing in irritants. Dr. Kossoy suggests changing the mask every 20-30 minutes, because the humidity from your breath may break down its protection.

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