Over 50 million Americans suffer from allergic reactions caused by various substances, and it’s among the top three reasons for absenteeism at school and work.
An allergy occurs when the immune system reacts to touched, inhaled, injected, or eaten substances. Significant offenders include pollen, pets, mold, and dust mites.
Allergies travel to our homes through open windows, pet’s paws, the bottom of our shoes, and a malfunctioning HVAC system. While controlling outdoor allergen triggers is beyond our control, we can reduce the indoor exposures by controlling our environment with simple everyday tricks.
To reduce home allergens, here are some tips.
1. Wash it out
Allergens don’t just spread through the air, they can be transported to your home on clothing, beddings, hair, furniture, carpets, and cubicle walls.
Clean your home from top to underneath to remove fallen allergens. Keep your counter spaces clear and clean to reduce undesirable insects and cockroaches from invading your home and causing allergic reactions. Consider soft daily cleaning for commonly used rooms and vacuuming weekly to clean allergens and dust in the air.
When cleaning, move all the furniture to reach under and remove accumulated dust bunnies. After cleaning the hard surfaces like floors and nightstands, wash your drapes, beddings curtains, and other soft covers to kick out any dust.
Don’t forget to vacuum your mattresses and furniture. To cut allergen levels and avoid chemical reactions, use a vacuum with HEPA filters and nontoxic cleaners. Additionally, wear a mask when vacuuming to avoid inhaling the dust stirred up..
A cluttered home is a breeding ground for dust and allergens. Cluttered spaces also impact productivity and cause stress.
Corral the dirty clothes and put them in a hamper away from living and sleeping areas, put the shoes in a shoe rack or at the door, and get storage bins to stow away all the knick knacks.
Decluttering helps in reducing chemical allergens, dust, mold, and pet dander.
3. Clean the air
Despite our efforts to keep the indoor high air quality and your environment nontoxic, we still have products or materials with chemicals that affect the air.
Consider investing in a good air purifier with particulate and activated carbon filters to reduce pet dander, pollen, and dust by removing them instead of redistributing. The activated carbon filters help capture the volatile organic compounds from your indoor air while the particulate filter reduces exposure of irritants like pollen, mold, and dirt.
4. Change your HVAC filters
The HVAC filters accumulate lots of pet dander, smoke, dust, and dirt, and it’s recommended to change them every three months, depending on usage.
Dirty air filters worsen your indoor air quality causing exacerbated symptoms due to distributed allergens. This means to reduce the distribution of allergens and prevent deteriorating indoor air opt for monthly filter change and consult Eastern Shore Heating & Air Conditioning NJ for yearly HVAC maintenance and repairs.
During the year, HVAC maintenance professionals can clean the ductwork to remove the accumulation of grime and dirt thus reducing irritants and allergens.
Additionally, invest in filters with a high MERV rating to catch more particles and keep your indoor air healthy.
5. Use allergen barriers
According to America Allergy and Asthma Foundation, dust mites commonly found in our homes can trigger year-round asthma and allergies reactions.
Laundering, dusting, and regular vacuuming works well in reducing dust mites, but using allergen barriers is advisable for people with severe allergic reactions.
Allergen barriers used to cover pillows, cushions, and mattresses help to minimize the accumulation of dust mites. Available in cotton and polyester materials, these allergen covers enclose mattresses and pillows complete, thus keeping off even the tiniest particulate allergen while keeping your beddings nontoxic.
Additionally, since irritants and allergens may enter you home through the bottom of your shoes, it’s advisable to put double doormats on your door. Teach family members to wipe their feet on both the outside and inside mat to cut outside allergens entering your home. Make sure to vacuum your rugs twice per week to remove the sticky allergens and fight off the mites.
6. Keep indoors at the right humidity level
Humidity can become a challenge when it’s above 50 percent as it may increase the distribution of dust mites and the growth of off-gassing products and molds.
Keep your home humidity below 50 percent by using air conditioners and dehumidifiers. Consider using a humidity gauge level to keep an eye out.
A bathroom can become highly humid, thus aiding in mold growth. To prevent this, run your fan for about 10 minutes after taking a shower to remove excess moisture.
While outdoors allergens can cause allergic reactions, there is very little we can do about it. However, indoor allergens can be minimised by keeping your home clean, preventing high temperatures, decluttering your home, changing your HVAC filters, and using allergen barriers. These simple tricks will keep your loved ones free from allergic attacks and your indoor air quality healthy.