According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, over 50 million Americans suffer from nasal allergies, and children account for more than 6 million of them. With most people spending the majority of their day inside – at work, home and school – triggers like mold, pet dander, dust mites, and other indoor allergens can cause your allergy symptoms to flare. To combat the sneezes and sniffles, follow these six steps to allergy-proof your home.
Wash Bedding Regularly – Your bed is the favorite place for dust-mite colonies and dead skin to settle. Medical experts strongly advise that you strip your bed and wash the sheets weekly in hot water to kill dust mites and, if possible, use your vacuum cleaner tools to remove excess debris from your mattress surface. Encase your pillow, mattress, and box spring with hypoallergenic covers to further reduce allergen exposure. Don’t forget decorative pillows, upholstery on couches, and stuffed animals because they can harbor dust mites and pollen that enter from outside.
Dust Without Chemicals – If you’re used to dusting with a chemical aid, this could backfire and irritate your allergies. Dusting with a feather duster is no good either because it simply spreads dust around. A healthier option is to use a microfiber cloth to attract and remove dust from your home. You can even throw the cloth in the wash and reuse it later. Remember to clean items such as your lampshade, bookshelves, and electronics, especially your laptop computers. To prevent the collection of dust, pollen, and other allergens on your laptop, consider a gel or rubber case that you can remove and wipe easily.
Use a Quality Air Filter and Replace It Often – We stress this often – the air in your home is extremely important to your overall health, which is why we urge consumers to change their air filter according to its recommended schedule. Some filters require changing every 30 days, while others can last as long as 90 days. The higher the MERV rating, the better the air filtration. Your AC unit collects air from the outside, and to protect your home from allergens and other harmful airborne hazards, the air filter functions to trap those particles and give you the cleanest air indoors.
Manage Humidity – Canadian researchers in the Journal of Asthma and Allergy found that mold and moisture in homes are frequent causes of asthma. In the summer, your focus should be on lowering indoor humidity with a whole-house dehumidifier. This device works in conjunction with your air conditioner to remove excess humidity, reducing the chance of mold growth. The goal is to keep humidity below 35% because if humidity is above 50%, fungi and mold thrive.
Clean or Replace Curtains & Drapes – Imagine the dust the curtains right in front of your windows collect, especially when you open them. Don't think you’ve covered all the bases if you've forgotten to change or wash the curtains. The best curtain fabrics for an allergy sufferer are plain cotton or synthetic. But if you must have the beautiful lace and satin curtains, wash them as often as you would your bedding – weekly and with hot water.
Clean or Replace Silk Flowers – Although they might serve as floral decor, they harbor tons of dust and allergens. For those not willing to give up their silk orchids, it is important to dust them with a damp microfiber cloth to prevent dust from moving around. Another great suggestion that will help is to replace them with real plants – ones that enhance your air quality, such as bamboo, aloe vera, and various species of fern. They require little water and look great while cleaning your air.
To get the best air quality and combat common household allergens, we recommend you use the best brand in America, the Filtrete Allergen Defense. This filter is rated between MERV 11 and 13 and considered a superior residential filter. It captures larger particles such as pollen, textile fibers, mold spores, and hair spray as well as smaller bacteria and viruses that are spread by a simple sneeze. A clean filter catches more allergens and ensures ideal airflow, so you will also enjoy lower energy costs.
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