Return to Index
Lifestyle Changes to Manage Allergic Rhinitis
- Control dust mites.
- Control animal dander.
- Control pests.
- Control indoor molds.
- Avoid airborne irritants.
- Keep environments clean and dry.
- Decrease exposure to outdoor allergens.
- Wash sheets and blankets weekly in hot water (130°F [54°C]) and dry in a hot dryer.
- Cover mattresses and pillowcases with airtight allergen-proof covers.
- Replace comforters and pillows made from natural materials (such as down, feathers, or cotton) with those made from synthetic fibers.
- Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting (especially in the bedroom) as much as possible. If you have it, be sure to vacuum often.
- Keep your pet out of the rooms you use most frequently (such as the bedroom).
- Have other nonallergic family members groom your pet as often as possible.
- 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.
- Always keep food in airtight containers.
- Remove pet food dishes after pets have eaten.
- Keep stove and kitchen surfaces free of food and dirt.
- Remove any curtains, carpeting, or wallpaper that show visible evidence of mold.
- Install exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Use dehumidifiers in damp areas such as the basement.
- Avoid storing clothing in damp areas.
- Do not carpet damp or concrete floors.
- Use a solution of 1 part bleach and 20 parts water to clean areas with mold.
- Do not smoke or allow smoking in your home.
- Avoid areas with fresh paint fumes.
- Avoid the fumes of strong cleaning products.
- Avoid perfumes and aerosols when possible.
- Clean and vacuum frequently, using HEPA filters.
- Use fans to promote air circulation.
- Use an electrostatic air purifier.
- Use a dehumidifier in damp areas.
- Avoid raking, mowing, blowing leaves, and other outdoor activities that might put you in contact with allergens.
- Gardening and farming are associated with high levels of exposure to molds. You may need to stop doing these activities.
- Close windows and stay indoors (with air conditioning) when pollen counts are high.
- Time your outdoor recreational activities (hiking, bicycling, camping) for when pollen counts are lower.
Advice from your allergist: Rhinitis. American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology website. Available at: http://www.acaai.org/public/advice/rhin.htm. Accessed September 15, 2008.
Carson-DeWitt R. Allergic rhinitis. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/. Updated November 2007. Accessed September 15, 2008.
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 09/2014
- Update Date: 09/17/2014