The spread of COVID-19 has led many industries to quickly change how they operate. Essential businesses have adjusted their everyday practices to accommodate the most vulnerable populations. For many, this means employees work from home, switch to virtual meetings and adjust to a new work-life balance.

As you get used to your new workspace, your body does, too. Some may begin to feel indoor allergy symptoms due to the nearly constant exposure during this time of staying home and working from home. With the start of spring, outdoor allergens can also become an issue. In this blog, you’ll find tips for lowering your exposure and related symptoms.

Indoor allergens

Consistent exposure to indoor allergens like pet dander, dust and mold in your home can cause annoying, persistent allergy symptoms. Allergies can cause itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and stuffy nose. Viruses typically come with a fever; allergies do not.

If your employer has an extended work-from-home policy in place, it’s recommended to designate an area in your home as your workspace. You will likely spend most of your day in this area, so prioritize it as an allergy-free zone by following these tips:

  • Indoor allergens thrive in carpet, so if possible, choose a space without carpet. If that’s not an option, vacuum your workspace with a HEPA filter at least once a week.
  • Keep pets out of your workspace if possible to eliminate dander. If creating this barrier isn’t possible, keep pets and their beds clean.
  • Use a humidifier to adjust humidity to somewhere 30% and 50% to keep dust mite levels low.
  • Remove feather pillows, wool and silk blankets, and animal skins from your workspace – dust mites thrive on organic materials like these.

These measures can help reduce indoor allergens in your at-home workspace and the symptoms that go along with it. 

Outdoor allergens

Spring has sprung, and trees and grass are starting to bud in many areas. While this is a welcome sign of winter ending and nicer weather to come, it also brings spring allergies.

If you’re tempted to open your windows during your workday, you may want to reconsider. Since this isn’t a common practice in most offices, your body may not be used to the consistent exposure of outdoor allergens during your workday. This added exposure can cause symptoms even on low pollen days, or for those who aren’t typically affected.

Open windows also allow pollen to attach to furniture, carpet, and bedding. Even after you close the windows, pollen can linger, get into your nose or eyes, and cause itching and sneezing.

To keep outdoor allergens outside:

  • Keep windows closed and AC on
  • Vacuum often with a HEPA filter

Getting fresh air is important, especially in times like this. If you venture outside for a walk or exercise while maintaining distance from others, be sure to shower and wash your clothes when you return. Pollen tends to stick to clothes and hair, so this will help you avoid tracking it in with you.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a bit of a wake-up call for respiratory health. Now, more than ever, it’s important to have asthma, allergies, and other respiratory illness under control to avoid complications when viruses like COVID-19 and the flu are widespread. Consider finding a provider near you who offers allergy treatment that gets to the cause, rather than masking the symptoms, for long-term tolerance.

By Taylor Pasell, Allergychoices