Lifestyle Changes to Manage Allergic Rhinitis
It is not always possible to get rid of all allergens. Here are some steps you can take to lower exposure to them.
Control Dust Mites
Dust mites are a common problem at home. They are mainly found in bedding, curtains, and carpet.
To control dust mites:
- Wash sheets and blankets weekly in hot water (130 °F [degrees Farenheit]; 54 °C [degrees Celsius]) and dry in a hot dryer.
- Cover mattresses and pillowcases with airtight allergen-proof covers.
- Avoid comforters and pillows made from natural materials such as down, feathers, or cotton. Choose those made from synthetic fibers.
- Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting as much as you can. If you have it, vacuum often.
Control Animal Dander
Animal fur doesn't cause allergies. It is a protein found in their saliva, urine, and flakes of skin. Steps that may help:
- Keep your pet out of the rooms you use most often.
- Have other people in your home groom the pet on a regular basis.
In some cases, the only way to solve this problem is to take the pet out of your home.
Cockroaches and mice cause allergies and asthma. Have a professional come to clear them out. Steps that may help to prevent pests include:
- Close all open gaps in windows, floorboards, doors, and around drains.
- Fix and seal leaky water faucets and pipes because roaches need water and humidity to survive.
- Keep food in airtight containers.
- Remove pet food dishes after they've eaten.
- Keep stove and kitchen surfaces free of food and dirt.
Control Indoor Molds
The spores of molds and fungi thrive in warm, moist, and humid places. This can often cause problems for some people. To lower the number of indoor molds and fungi:
- Remove any curtains, carpeting, or wallpaper that have signs of mold.
- Install exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Use dehumidifiers in damp areas such as the basement.
- Try not to store clothing in damp areas.
- Don't carpet damp or concrete floors.
- Use a solution of 1 part bleach and 20 parts water to clean areas with mold.
Avoid Airborne Irritants
Air irritants and pollutants can trigger an allergic reaction. Control airborne irritants that trigger your allergies by staying away from:
- Smoking—Don't smoke or allow it in your home.
- Fresh paint fumes.
- Fumes of strong cleaning products.
- Perfumes and sprays when possible.
Keep Environments Clean and Dry
Nearly all allergens thrive in moist, damp, or dirty places. One of the best ways to lower your chances of allergic rhinitis is to keep these places clean and dry. You can do this by using:
- A vacuum with HEPA filters. Vacuum as often as you can.
- Fans to move air around.
- An electrostatic air purifier.
- A dehumidifier in damp areas.
Decrease Exposure to Outdoor Allergens
If you have problems with pollens, molds, or other outdoor allergens:
- Don't rake, mow, or blow leaves.
- Try to avoid outdoor activities when allergen level is high.
- Try not to garden or farm often if you have problems with mold.
- Close windows and stay indoors when pollen counts are high. Air conditioning can be helpful.
Allergic rhinitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/allergic-rhinitis. Updated July 9, 2018. Accessed February 14, 2020.
Allergic rhinitis treatment. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America website. Available at: https://www.aafa.org/allergy-treatments/. Updated March 2018. Accessed February 14, 2020.
Allergy shots. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website. Available at: https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/allergy-library/allergy-shots-(immunotherapy). Accessed February 14, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD Last Updated: 10/27/2020