The American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology reports that about 50 million Americans experience allergies every year, and 24 million are affected by asthma symptoms. Although easy to forget, it is crucial to take steps to prevent symptoms of both conditions when cleaning your car. Allergies and asthma can not only become a problem when cleaning your car but also when you want to work on your vehicle. Because these projects can take hours and are largely completed outdoors (or mostly outdoors), common allergens like pollen and mold can quickly cause problems. If you are planning on cleaning your vehicle in the near future, explore three strategies for preventing symptoms.
Wear an outdoor allergen mask
One of the best ways to eliminate the symptoms of allergies is to limit or prevent your exposure to triggers. Aside from medication, reducing the time you are exposed to the allergens that cause sneezing, coughing, and congestion is the most effective treatment. Since you can only work on your car in your driveway, or in your garage (which is likely full of allergens), you have to get creative in reducing your exposure. That is why the use of an outdoor allergen mask is incredibly helpful. These masks are most commonly used when performing yard work, but they have dozens of other applications. When choosing a mask, good filtration starts at a rating of N95. These filtration levels remove 95% of particles that are 0.3 microns or larger. However, if you are looking to filter out as many allergens as possible, go for a mask with a filtration rating of P100.
Use cleaning products that won’t aggravate your allergies
Did you know that conventional cleaning products have been proven to aggravate allergies and trigger the symptoms of asthma? This is due to the harsh chemicals that are now used in everything from general purpose cleaners to car wash soap. As a result, the car cleaning supplies that you choose are an integral part of managing your allergies. Instead of buying traditional cleaning products, which can be tough on the lungs and skin, you can make your own car cleaning supplies at home. For example, baking soda can be used as a deodorizer for your floor mats. Additionally, the combination of water, vinegar, and alcohol can serve as a safe car window cleaner.
Take steps to eliminate allergens from your vehicle
To avoid future allergy/asthma flare-ups when driving, or when working on customizing your car, take steps to eliminate allergens from your vehicle. Depending on how you use and park your car, your vehicle could be filled with pet dander, mold spores, pollen, and more. Therefore, once you’ve cleaned your car thoroughly, be sure to always roll up your windows (to prevent allergens from getting in), use machine-washable seat covers when transporting your pets, and vacuum the interior of your vehicle on a weekly basis.
Even though allergies can be an annoyance, they don’t have to get in the way of you maintaining and enhancing your vehicle. By taking steps to reduce your exposure to the allergens in the air, and to prevent future exposure, you can more easily enjoy the time you spend working on your car.