Tips & Tricks for Keeping Your Dorm/Apartment Allergy Friendly

Photo by Martin Luo

It’s about that time of the year, folks. With a month of school under our belts, the long football game weekends, late night studying and general college shenanigans have begun to catch up with us. With that being said, don’t be the one that comes to class with a horrible cough and runny nose. These few tips and tricks for keeping your dorm/apartment allergy-friendly are a good start to beating the sickness that’s bound to make its way to you at some time or another.

  1. Firstly, and most obviously, keep your place clean! Many allergies are born from dust and mold. Sweeping and vacuuming can be a pain in the butt, but is it really worth all the trips up to UHS?
  2. While you’re on a cleaning spree, double check that your bed is the cleanest it can be. This goes double for your pillow cases. If your hair is longer than an inch, you better believe there’s all kind.
  3. As an alternative to cleaning your sheets aggressively often, consider showering before you go to bed at night instead of in the morning. This gets all of the allergens out of your hair to prevent them from building up in your sheets making you have to wash them more often.
  4. Change your clothes when you get home. You wouldn’t believe all the stuff you track in from outside and not just on your shoes. Pollen and dust stick to the fabric of your clothing and then come off onto your stuff.
  5. Wash your clothes twice as often during allergy season. It helps to change your clothes when you get home so as to not sit on your furniture and track allergens into your bed. But if you have a hamper full of laundry that’s covered in pollen and other allergens in a tiny space like your dorm, that can still affect you.
  6. Stay woke when it comes to pollen counts. Running outside in the morning can be great for waking up in the morning, but not so great when pollen counts are especially high. Not only are you breathing them in your entire run, but pollen gets embedded in your clothes and then tracked into your living space.
  7. Consider other ways allergens are getting into your home, like on your food. That’s right. Lots of fruits, like apples and bananas, can cause allergy symptoms. Fruits come from plants and can carry pollen, as well. Store your fruits in your refrigerator or microwave them for ten seconds before eating to kill allergens.
  8. Look everywhere for mold, and I mean everywhere. Mold can build up, and build up quick, especially in places like your dishwasher, near your water heater, garbage disposal and air conditioner unit. Anywhere that’s damp or can get damp is bound to get mold.
  9. Another trick to avoid getting mold is to keep an eye on your thermostat. The heat feels good to more than just you and me – dust mites and mold love getting cozy in dorms and apartments that are too  above 70 degrees. If you can, also try to keep the humidity down in your room. As said before, warm and damp places are where mold thrives.
  10. Lastly, make sure you’re taking care of yourself. You can clean your dorm or apartment until your arms fall off, but it won’t make that much of a difference unless your immune system is strong and ready to fight. It doesn’t take much to get sick, merely not getting enough sleep a couple of nights in a row would do the trick.

You can take a few allergy pills a day and hope for the best. But why chance it? Take the initiative to stay healthy and avoid the “Penn State Plague” this semester.