TeddyThat cute and cuddly teddy bear your child loves? It could be harboring millions of dust mites and exacerbating your family's allergies, says Todd Ram-basek, MD, an allergist in Cleveland. Fortunately, you don't have to toss out Teddy. Just put him in the freezer for 24 hours every two weeks, or run him through the washing machine in 140°F water. (Freezing or washing in hot water will kill the dust mites.) There are more allergy triggers and how to tackle them.

...more surprising sniffle triggers

If your family is sneezing and wheezing, consider these culprits:

Houseplants The soil can be a breeding gound for mold.
The fix: Consistent dampness in the soil is what leads to mold, so avoid overwatering and consider using a dehumidifer in your home, says Rebecca Piltch, MD, an allergist in San Francisco.

Nonslip bathtub mats and shower curtains They're also mold hot spots.
The fix: Clean them regularly (once every two weeks) with a 10 percent bleach solution (1 part bleach, 9 parts water). Of course, if you see mold (make sure you look underneath and in the crevices!), scrub it down ASAP, says Dr. Ram basek. Another way to keep mold at bay? keep your bathroom ventilated, either by opening a window or installing a fan, which will help get rid of mold spores in the air.

New paint or furniture Both can give off VOCs (volatile organic compounds, which are gases emitted into the air that can trigger asthma attacks) for more than a year after you use or get them.
The fix: The next time you repaint or remodel your home, choose low-or no-VOC paint and furniture. It's usually a little more expensive and the furniture in particular may be difficult to find (check out the shopping tips at greenyour.com; the paint can be found at home stores), but it's worth it, especially if you have asthma, says Dr. Rambasek. If you're concerned about the current paint on the walls or items you already own, consider buying a heat recovery ventilator (HRV). This machine constantly exchanges stale house air with fresh outside air ($400 and up at amazon.com).