Surviving Your College Dorm Room This Allergy Season
With dorm life comes a lot of exciting developments, like making new friends - but the environment can also be a breeding ground for dust mites, mold, bacteria and viruses. Add in potential irritants like hair sprays, perfumes or smoke, and you have a recipe for breathing disasters, especially in the face of allergies or asthma.
There are plenty of measures you can take to make sure your dorm is a healthy living space, however.
Take these tips into account as you settle into your new room and you can breathe easy all season long.
First things first: It's crucial to keep dorm clutter to a minimum. Allergens tend to settle in piles of stuffed animals, clothes, books and other objects.
Sharing a bunk bed? If you can, take the top level so you can avoid inhaling any dust that falls from your roommate's bedding.
It's also helpful to make allergy-conscious decorating decisions. Opt for furniture with little to no upholstery, and skip the area rugs - while they may make your feet feel cozy, they are a haven for dust mites. If your dorm room has wall-to-wall carpeting, vacuum regularly to hinder particles from becoming airborne. Don't forget to take an allergy-proof pillow case and mattress encasing.
Don't know where to store all your stuff? Place belongings in plastic storage bins under your bed or elsewhere to cut down on dust-catchers.
Unfortunately, not all dorm rooms have adequate ventilation. That means that irritants can end up trapped in the room, exacerbating allergy symptoms or causing breathing problems for asthma sufferers.
Plug in a HEPA-type desktop air purifier, such as the Holmes® Desktop Air Purifier with Visipure™ Filter Viewing Window, that's small enough to save space but powerful enough to capture and remove up to 99 percent of airborne pollen, dust, mold and other airborne irritants from the air. Better yet, opt for one that contains an odor-eliminating filter to cut down unpleasant smells. Since college is a busy time, it can be helpful to invest in a purifier with a built-in filter change reminder setting.
Mold and mildew are also common problems in dorm rooms, which can have high humidity levels and poor ventilation. Open windows every now and then to air out your room and keep the environment comfortable.