Help Your Family Breathe Easier – You can try to escape outdoor allergens by going or staying inside, but it’s challenging to avoid indoor allergens. Many triggers are odorless or overlooked until symptoms alert us that there’s an issue.
If you do suffer from allergies that are triggered by dust, mold, pet dander, etc., there are some simple changes you can make to help alleviate your symptoms.
1) Reduce humidity – Mold and dust mites thrive on moisture. Invest in dehumidifiers to place in damp areas to keep humidity levels in the 30-50 percent range to reduce mold growth and dust mites. Air conditioning will also help keep the air dry in hot and muggy weather.
2) Increase ventilation – Open windows occasionally and turn on ceiling fans to get stale air flowing throughout your house. Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and cooking areas.
3) Filters and air purifiers – Replace filters in HVAC units regularly. Air purifiers can be helpful, and some indoor plants (ferns, spider plants) act as natural air purifiers. Just make sure they are kid and pet-friendly.
4) Eliminate clutter/reduce indoor dust – Areas of clutter such as shelves with lots of knick-knacks or bookcases collect a lot of dust. Dust mites, pet dander, even pollen can make their way into nooks and crannies.
5) Housecleaning – Dust before vacuuming. If you have carpet, vacuum twice a week getting into corners and along edges. Use microfiber mops on bare floors and microfiber or damp cloths for dusting; vacuum drapes and upholstery weekly. Avoid carpet and heavy drapes, if possible and instead opt for hardwood or laminate flooring or at least low pile carpeting and rugs and choose washable curtains.
6) Bedding – Wash bedding including blankets, pillows, mattress pads, and stuffed animals in 130- degree water and use a hot dryer. Also, use allergen-resistant covers for bed pillows, mattresses, and box springs.
7) Pets – If possible, keep pets out of bedrooms and vacuum areas where pets tend to sit or sleep. Also, regularly wash your pet’s bedding, stuffed toys, and any blankets they sleep on often.
8) Use doormats or take off shoes – Whatever we pick up on our shoes is tracked into our homes and transferred throughout the house. Place doormats at each entryway to capture at least some of the dirt or remove shoes at the door.
9) Use natural and fragrance-free products – eliminate aerosols, designate your house as a “smoke-free” zone – If you have family or friends who smoke, send them outside!
10) Have air ducts professionally cleaned – air ducts can harbor dust mites, pollen, and mold that will recirculate throughout your home each time the unit kicks on.
There is no foolproof cure or solution for every type of allergy, but taking precautions and following these simple practices can make a difference.