And you thought spiders were bad...

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As the autumn leaves continue to fall and the cooler temperatures see winter drawing in, the onset of major allergy season is upon us.

The number of people with allergies and intolerances in Ireland is increasing - 470,000 people in Ireland have asthma and Ireland has the fourth highest prevalence of asthma in the world according to the Asthma Association of Ireland.

One in every 10 adults and one in every five children suffer from asthma while 25% of the Irish population now suffers from some form of allergy and at least 10% of children and young adults have more than one allergic disorder.

The biggest offenders at this time of year for those who suffer from allergies are ragweed, mould and dust mites.

Piles of leaves and damp areas outside and inside the home are places where mould can quickly grow, while

ragweed can release pollen late in the year.

Dust mites, eager to get out of the cooler weather, will migrate into our homes and accumulate in all of our most comfortable places like furniture, beds and carpet.

Luckily, with some planning and organisation, it can be relatively easy to deal with these triggers and minimise the impact of allergy season.

Here are some tips from Chem-Dry, a leading carpet and upholstery cleaning service, to keep you one step ahead:

* Clean all vents and air filters in your home prior to turning on heating units;

* Keep on a regular schedule of dusting your home and use damp cloths which help contain the dust instead of just spreading it around;

* Wash your sheets and bedding on a regular basis - weekly is recommended;

* Keep shower curtains clean. The bottom edge of fabric shower curtains is a prime spot for mould to grow;

* Vacuum as often as possible and use a HEPA-filter machine if you can;

* It’s good practice to have your carpets, rugs and upholstery cleaned by a professional regularly. For carpets, 2-3 times per year is the recommended schedule.