Why do millions of people choose to make their allergies worse instead of better? Sounds hard to believe, but it happens everyday. Whether allergies affect you year-round or during seasonal changes, allergies equal fatigue, congestion, sinus infections and all-around lousy feelings. Yet, millions of people unknowingly aggravate their allergies just by using common everyday products that wouldn’t bother them if it were not allergy season. When you’re down and out, chemicals and strong scents make matters worse. You can sneeze all about it in this article.
Does Scent-Free Mean Sneeze-Free?
When an allergen is incoming (pollen, bee sting, ragweed, etc.) the immune system springs into action and fights off allergens, so it only makes sense that the more foreign bodies that enter your system like chemicals, pollution and strong scents, the harder the immune system has to work and thus the more tired you become. One fragrance may not affect you, but when you’re bombarded with fragrances, odors and chemicals all day long the numbers can add up. The encounter of these chemicals day after day during your allergy season can start to break down the immune system and make you susceptible to exaggerated allergic reactions such as hives or skin swelling. Allergy season doesn’t have to equal exhaustion, but you’ll have to pitch in and take a few steps to avoid immune system overload.
So, how can you do this? When you know your allergy season is approaching, adopt a scent-free chemical-free lifestyle. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to live in a bubble and make everything from scratch.) Take a stroll down the laundry aisle of the local supermarket and you’ll see perfume-free, allergen-free, and/or dye-free products. Why? Allergies, sensitive skin and asthma are a growing epidemic in this country and manufacturers can no longer ignore the need for scent free and chemical free products.
Everyday Cleaners to Avoid During Allergy Season
Cleaning is a good thing, certainly no one wants to be around stinky people, but unfortunately some of the ingredients in cleaners can cause or aggravate the allergy/asthma problem. For example, ammonia is found in window cleaners and many general cleaning products. It is actually a powerful eye irritant and may trigger asthma attacks. According to the Office of Environmental Affairs in Colorado, Paradichloro-benzene which is found in toilet bowl cleaners and fumigants is a possible cancer-causing agent. Aside from being toxic to pets, furniture polish and heavy duty cleaners have the same ingredient as many pet flea treatments which is petroleum distillates which is known to irritate eyes, skin and the respiratory system. Those disinfectant sprays you put into the air actually contain Sodium Hypochlorite (bleach) that is not only corrosive but can irritate the eyes, skin respiratory system and may especially irritate people with heart and respiratory conditions.
There are some excellent homemade alternatives to harsh cleaners that clean just as well, but without strong odors or irritation. Here are some quick, safe and great working cleaners:
Recipes for Natural Cleaners
You’ll notice that the recipes listed below are made with everyday household items–not complicated ingredients you have to get from the local high school’s chemistry lab. So, what gives? Will vinegar, baking soda and lemon really clean? Yes and here’s a quick breakdown of why. Lemon has natural cleaning properties and also a pleasant scent (same with orange which you can substitute.) Vinegar is a gentle cleaner and polisher, but it doesn’t have the most pleasing scent which is why it is often paired with lemon juice. Baking soda is an abrasive which makes it good for scrubbing and as an added bonus it neutralizes odors. If you’re a non-believer and want to test out its odor neutralizing ability add a cup of baking soda to your next load of laundry. Be sure to use your most scented laundry detergent or fabric softener. Before putting the wet clothes into the dryer, have a good whiff. You won’t smell a thing because the baking soda zapped the scent as well as any offending odors.
Heavy Duty Cleaners
To get rid of soap scum, shine up your shower doors, tile and sinks use a cup of baking soda, two tablespoons of lemon juice and a tablespoon of dish soap. Add just enough water to create a mild scrub (you don’t want to dissolve all of the baking soda.) Take this into the shower or bath with you and before exiting scrub down the walls, doors and tiles, then rinse. This natural cleaner gets rid of thick soap scum and build up without the nauseating odors. You can also use this to clean and disinfect sinks and toilets.
For the best window cleaner you’ll ever use, fill a medium-sized spray bottle half-way with water. Fill another quarter with vinegar then add about one tablespoon of lemon juice and one teaspoon of dish soap. Gently rotate (don’t shake) the bottle to mix up the cleaner. Spray this on glass, appliances, counter and any other non-wood surface you wish to clean.
Instead of heavily-scented wood polishers and cleaners, use olive oil. You will be pleasantly- surprised with the results and your home will smell like a bakery!
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
A mixture of vinegar and lemon juice with a little bit of dish soap is perfect for cleaning toilets inside and out. For thick rings and stains inside the toilet bowl, add some baking soda and scrub with a toilet brush. This cleaner is good for anything you want to glimmer and shine including non-wood floors. Now stand back and admire your work–ooh, sparkly.
It sounds simple, but by eliminating unnatural scents and chemicals, as well as pollution and the actual allergen that is bothering you, you can make your allergy season easier to get through!