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Warding Your Home from Allergens

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For millions of people in the United States and throughout the world, allergies are an affliction that can control and even define their lives. Perhaps the worst aspect of severe allergies is that they assault us in the one place that we should always feel safe and comfortable: our own home. The good news is that even when dealing with acute allergies, you can take steps to ease, and in some cases eradicate, your symptoms. So let us examine the techniques that will allow you to prevent and manage the airborne  allergens that trigger your suffering.

  • Air Filtration: A portable air purification system, particularly one with a HEPA filter, will remove nearly all of the contaminants that trigger and exacerbate your allergy symptoms. In fact, HEPA  air purifiers are so effective that some sufferers no longer experience allergy symptoms in their homes after they begin to use one.
  • Air QualityConsult with a doctor, but typically, a 60 relative humidity is optimal, and you can help keep allergens at a minimum by maintaining that level. The easiest and cleanest way to do that is with a well-maintained humidifier and dehumidifier combination unit.
  • Bedding: Wash your bedding weekly. If you haven’t washed them in a long time, start with a new set. Consider encasing your box spring, mattress and pillows in dust-mite-specific protective covers. Keep pets with dander out of the bedroom.
  • Clutter: Don’t underestimate a mess. It just provides more surface area for dust to collect, and a mess makes every aspect of cleaning and maintenance much more difficult. 
  • Curtains and Blinds: Opt for washable curtains, such as those made from synthetic fabric or plain cotton, and wash them monthly. Blinds are a prime collection spot for dust, so choose blinds that are easy to clean. In addition, instead of dusting, wipe them down with a clean washcloth.
  • Fireplace: In terms of aesthetics and atmosphere, fireplaces are a wonderful addition to any home. Unfortunately, they are also a terrible source of contaminants and pollutants. Even gas-burning fireplaces can aggravate respiratory allergies, although natural gas tends to be allergy friendly.
  • Flooring: Carpeting is an extremely effective trap for allergens, so use linoleum, tiled and hardwood floors wherever possible. In areas where carpeting is a necessity, vacuum regularly, and consider using a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
  • Furniture: Furnishings of all types are dust magnets, so you must clean them frequently. Cloth-based furniture, such as couches, are particularly bad. Plastic coverings work quite well, but you can generally avoid that extreme measure with regular washing and vacuuming.
  • Pets: Pets with dander can be a nightmare for those with allergies, but you don’t necessarily have to get rid of them. Keep them out of the bedroom and at least one other room for use as a sanctuary. Also, clean more frequently, and be sure to use a high-quality HEPA filter.
  • Plants: Plants can be an excellent addition to any allergen-free home because used properly they help to filter and freshen the air naturally. But be careful not to overwater because that leads to mold.  Even the smallest amount of mold spores can agitate allergies severely.
  • Shower and Tub: Even with proper ventilation, mildew will form in these areas. It’s important to note that mold is present and releasing mold spores into the air long before there’s enough mold to smell or be visible. Mold is especially bad for those with respiratory allergies.
  • Ventilation: Proper ventilation is vital in order to ensure that appliances such as stoves do not flush particulates directly into your home. Another area where ventilation is important is in bathrooms. Otherwise, the moisture will give rise to mildew, which will trigger allergies even before an odor is present.
  • Waste Containers: Insects and decomposing food present problems to those with allergies long before they are at the level of being obvious. In order to avoid this, use trash cans that have insect-proof lids.  Remove trash daily, regardless of how empty the bag is.
  • Windows: Use your HVAC system as much as possible. If operating properly as well as filtered and ventilated adequately, there shouldn’t be a need to open the windows to let in the fresh air. If you do, be certain that you’re not doing it when pollen is active.

 

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