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Being able to breathe easy under any circumstance is important, but it’s especially crucial when you’re at home. Unfortunately, there are things in your house that can make breathing harder than it needs to be.
“You’d be surprised how many allergens are lurking around your home and even more shocked to know that they can really impact your breathing,” beauty and lifestyle expert Anna DeSouza, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
Thankfully, you can do something about it. DeSouza recommends trying these three home improvement tips to improve your breathing at home.
1. Use dust mite–proof bedding
Dust mites like to make a home in your pillows, where they can serve as a trigger for year-round allergies, DeSouza points out. And that can leave you with symptoms like troubled breathing, sneezing, a runny nose and cough. “If you’re sneezing and wheezing all year long, this is [probably] why,” she says.
That’s why DeSouza recommends investing in hypoallergenic pillow covers. “These are super easy. You pop your pillow in and put your regular pillowcase over top,” she says.
Not only are dust mite-proof pillow covers a good idea, it’s usually best to use dust mite–proof covers on your mattress and box spring too, says Purvi Parikh, MD, an allergist with Allergy & Asthma Network. “The cover has microscopic pores so the dust mites cannot get through and are trapped inside,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “As a result, it creates a barrier between you and the little nasties while you are sleeping.”
Shop it: PlushDeluxe Standard Premium Hypoallergenic 100% Waterproof Pillow Protector (set of 2), $21, amazon.com
2. Invest in microfiber cleaning cloths
DeSouza calls these “the unsung heroes of your home.” Microfiber cloths are “going to trap dust, dirt and pet hair from places you didn’t even know were dirty,” she explains, adding that they’re washable and reusable. “Get a variety pack of different colors,” she advises. “That way, you can use one in different rooms… so all those germs can stay where they belong.”
She's not their only highly credentialed fan. “They can clean without a lot of cleaning agents, which you need with a regular cotton cloth,” says Raymond Casciari, MD, a pulmonologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif. “Just a microfiber cloth and water can remove 98 percent of particles, bacteria and dust from surfaces.”
Shop it: Mr. Siga Microfiber Cloths, $12, amazon.com
3. Buy plenty of plants
While all plants are a great addition to any home, the bamboo palm is a particularly healthy choice. “NASA did a study on which plants help to improve air quality and the bamboo palm was one of the best,” says DeSouza. “It’s an affordable way to naturally filter out toxic chemicals from your home like benzene and formaldehyde.”
Plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, which everyone needs to breathe. That can “help, of course, with air quality,” adds Parikh. However, she warns, dust your plants regularly and check the dirt quality — plants can collect dust and mold, and that can aggravate allergies even more, which is very much not what we're going for here.
“Plants can also increase the humidity of your house, making it easier to breathe,” says Casciari says. That’s especially critical in winter, when the indoor air tends to be dry, DeSouza explains.
Interested in trying these out? You can easily pick up everything online or at your favorite home improvement store. As a result, DeSouza says, “you can get your home’s air in tip-top shape in a snap.”
Shop it: American Plant Exchange Areca Palm Indoor/Outdoor Air Purifier Live Plant, $20, amazon.com
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