We have a new vortex in town. Just when we say goodbye to the freezing temperatures and mounds of snow caused by the "Polar Vortex" this winter, New York has welcomed the "Pollen Vortex," an allergy sufferers worst nightmare. Because of the extreme cold in January, February and March, pollen counts are even higher than normal this spring. But you can put down those tissues and eye drops: We've spelled out a few home tips to help you combat allergies.
- Invest in easy-to-clean window treatments: While dust and other allergens have a tendency to accumulate around windows, outfitting your home with treatments like faux wood blinds, screen shades and anti-microbial shades can ensure an easier time of cleaning.
- Remove carpets: "Carpeting gathers dust and causes allergies," writes Sara Novak of lifestyle website Ecosalon. "Although it may seem like an investment, installing hardwood floors isn't as expensive as you might think. This is especially true if you do it yourself. You can install hardwood bamboo floors, a sustainable material, for as little as $3 per foot."
- Spring clean: Not only can spring cleaning make your house more aesthetically pleasing, it can also help minimize allergies. Even if you do have hardwood floors, it's important to clean them consistently. You should also vacuum your window coverings to remove any dust that may be clinging to these fixtures.
- Steer clear of VOC paints: VOCs contain an array of harmful chemicals that can cause allergies and even long-term health problems. Concentrations of these chemicals can be up to 10 times higher indoors, so make sure that the paint on your wall is non-VOC. You can usually pick up these paints at your local hardware store. Try out a color swatch before committing to a particular hue.
- Use anti-microbial shades: These window treatments can resist mold and mildew growth, helping to cut on both condensation and potential reaction-triggering allergens. If you're in the market for these coverings, you're in luck — there are plenty of shades available made from anti-microbial material.
If you're in need of new custom curtains and drapes, shades, blinds or shutters this spring, be sure to contact Metropolitan Window Fashions!