If you suffer from allergies, you may find yourself sneezing, coughing and itching while at college. Even if you don’t usually have allergies, moving to a new city, or into a different environment, can trigger new allergies.
If you’re struggling with seasonal allergies, or allergies to dust and mold in your dorm room, follow these tips to help you breathe a little easier.
Use Anti-Allergy Bedding
Dust mites are a common trigger of indoor allergies. While these microscopic organisms can be found everywhere, they prefer warm, humid environments, and bedding fits the bill perfectly. That’s why, to ensure your sleep is as comfortable as possible, you’ll need an anti-dust-mite mattress protector, pillow and quilt covers. Dorms often have extra-long beds, so check the mattress size before you choose your mattress protector.
Wash your bedding often in hot water. Research shows that the water temperature needs to be 140 degrees Fahrenheit or higher to kill all dust mites.
If your dorm offers bunk beds, choose to sleep on the top level to avoid exposure to dust falling from your roommate’s bed.
Wipe all of the surfaces and vacuum your room. You’ll most likely need to invest in your own vacuum cleaner that is more powerful than the ones usually available in dorms. It should also have a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. This filter will help you remove 99 percent of all particles wider than 0.3 micrometers, including dust mites, pollen and other allergens.
Dust every day, and clean your room thoroughly at least once a week to keep it dust-free — more often if you’re experiencing allergic reactions. If you’re sensitive to dust, protect yourself while cleaning by wearing a face mask.
Don’t leave your belongings lying around the room and collecting dust, or your cleaning routine will take forever. Instead, organize your room so that you have the items you use often easily accessible and everything else packed away where dust can’t get to it. If you don’t have enough storage space, use airtight storage boxes that you can put under your bed. When you only need to wipe a few smooth surfaces, you’ll be able to keep your room dust-free with ease.
Keep Mold at Bay
Mold is another common indoor allergen. It needs moisture to grow, so it’s important to keep your surfaces dry to prevent it from spreading. Wipe the condensation from your window frames and sills regularly. Dry your bathroom after use, and make sure that it’s well ventilated. If your dorm is in an area where high humidity is common, consider using a dehumidifier, but remember that it needs to be cleaned often.
If you see any mold that has already taken root, remove it as soon as you can using bleach solution or another cleaning agent that kills mold. Baking soda mixed with water and vinegar is an effective natural alternative to bleach.
Bring Your Roommates on Board
Have an open conversation about your allergies with the other people living in your room. You may find they’re helpful and will do their share of the cleaning. On the other hand, you may end up doing most of the cleaning yourself, but at least your roommates will hopefully make an effort not to create extra work for you.
If you find that you can’t come to acceptable arrangements, take steps to change either your room or your roommates. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, allergies affect 30 percent of all adults, so it should be easy to find a roommate with similar requirements to yours.