College dorm living can be at once awesome and a little cramped. If you like your roommate(s), you have an entire year to bond over everything from late-night studying to musical tastes. But even the best roommates come with their own stuff, and if you have allergies, all that stuff can sometimes mean your symptoms might flair up. However, there are ways to fight back against allergy symptoms, even when you’re in a shared space!
To get the lowdown on how to make your dorm room allergy friendly, we consulted Dr. Habib Sadeghi, DO, from Los Angeles, CA.
Allergy-Friendly Dorm Room Tips
1. Clean, clean, clean
In addition to wiping with sanitizing wipes and vacuuming, keeping clutter at bay is a big help. “Clean regularly, and don’t let clutter accumulate,” says Dr. Sadeghi. “Clutter offers more places for allergens to hide.” This includes laundry: “Put all dirty clothes immediately into a tightly sealed hamper or container.”
2. When you’re cleaning, opt for natural
“Always use natural cleaning products,” suggests Dr. Sadeghi. Certain chemicals in cleaning products may set off allergies.
3. Stash allergy-relief products in your nightstand
For the times when you’ve cleaned and cleaned but still have allergy symptoms, make sure you have the tools to find relief. Breathe Right Strips help you breathe, sleep, and feel better, because they instantly open your nose without the use of drugs (and they’re safe to use with any medicine).
4. Reconsider plant parenthood
“Plants can help filter the air, [which is good] if there is no allergy to mold,” Dr. Sadeghi says, but otherwise, “no plants, as mold can develop in the soil.”
5. Do laundry every week
This especially includes bedding. “Wash all bedding weekly to kill dust mites,” he said.
6. Keep pollen out
Pollen from plants outside is another common allergy trigger. Dr. Sadeghi’s suggestions? “Leave shoes near the door so you don’t track allergens like pollen throughout the room,” and “leave windows closed to avoid pollen entering.” Use the air conditioner instead, if you can. According to Dr. Sadeghi, using A/C is actually twofold: “This will also help keep humidity low to avoid mold growth.”
7. Keep the room simple
It makes sense: the less area for allergens to hide out, the lower your chance of an allergic reaction. “Avoid stuffed animals, and other nonessential such items that can trap allergens,” said Dr. Sadeghi. And if you need them, wash them regularly!
8. Try a purifier
Air purifiers can help mitigate allergies. “Consult your allergist about getting the best air purifier you can afford.”
9. Shower before bed
Consider switching your shower routine to a p.m. wash-up to mitigate allergies. Dr. Sadeghi says this is important to “wash off any pollen that’s clung to your skin from earlier in the day.”