If you're new to the desert southwest, chances are your allergies are going crazy right now. A warmer winter, combined with the spring time winds have kicked up all sorts of nasty stuff a lot earlier than usual. Yesterday, the dust was so heavy that the mountains surrounding Tucson were almost blocked out. (Due, in part to massive dust storms to the east of us in Texas and New Mexico.) Yesterday was a tough one for us desert natives - I can only imagine how bad it was for new transplants.
Every out of state buyer I've worked with gets the same warning from me: make sure that you prepare yourself for a bad allergy hit in the spring. And, it goes without fail that one of my clients gets in touch with me to say, "Boy, you weren't kidding!"
So, what do I tell new Tucsonans?
1. Get ready to change your HVAC filters AT LEAST once I a month. I do it regularly on the 1st. This month, I'll probably change them twice in my little condo. Also, vacuum out returns and registers.
2. Invest in a good vacuum cleaner with filters. Don't go cheap here. It WILL make a difference.
3. Stock up on Swiffers for dusting and non-carpet floor cleaning. It's one of the best products out there, in my opinion, for keeping the dust at bay.
4. Check your windows during windstorms. If you see dust on the window sills or on the floor under/near your windows, you'll want to have a window company come in and check the seals. THe same goes for your fireplace if you have one. Check the flue to see if it is closing all the way.
5. Spring cleaning happens twice out here - once when the weather gets warmer and once when the winds die down. I will run my bed coverings at least twice in the spring.
6. LOCAL HONEY!!! I am a big believer in using local honey to help me get through allergy season. Simply put: honey has the pollens/allergens that will help you get used to the new stuff floating in the air...not all of it, but most of it.
7. Neti pots are a good thing to have on hand. Some folks don't like the idea of how you use them but trust me - it will be very helpful!
8. Get after weeds as soon as you see them. I'm regularly pulling weeds as soon as they pop up in the yard.
9. Get into the habit of showering at night instead of in the morning. You'll wash away the pollens instead of letting them invade your pillows and sheets.
10. If all else fails, visit an allergy specialist. I had to do that when I moved to Northern Virginia and it made all the difference in the world.
It's going to be a bad allergy season, no doubt. These are just 10 out of many many tips you can find out there. Chat with your new neighbors and see what advice they have for you.
You'll get through it!!!