While there are a multitude of allergy relief medications available today, these medications oftentimes only provide partial relief from allergic reactions. The vast majority of people suffering from chronic allergies can be further relieved simply by targeting common airborne allergens within the home. Prevention is the key.
Dust & Dust Mites
Dust mites thrive in the dust in your home, particularly in your bed and bedroom where they readily find the two things they need to survive: food (dead skin cells) and water (perspiration). It is the waste products of these tiny bugs that is a trigger for allergies. The waste products are readily found on surfaces around the home and floating around in the air. Reducing the number of dust mites in your home is the key to reducing their airborne allergens.
- To eliminate these critters in your bed, use mattresses and bedding that are made with dust mite resistant materials. Latex mattresses are naturally resistant to dust mites, as are silk sheets, comforters and other silk bedding. The natural dry, moisture-wicking properties of both latex and silk make them inhospitable to dust mites.
- Mattress and bedding covers can be used with any type of bedding to eliminate even minute dust mite allergens.
- Consider using an air purifier to target the dust mites and dust mite particles moving around in the air. Choose a properly sized air purifier with a HEPA filter to treat the area.
- Hard-wood flooring is the best choice for bedrooms. Carpet is another attractive home to dust mites.
- For carpeted areas, vacuum OFTEN with a high-quality vacuum. Use a vacuum with a filtration system specially designed for allergen removal.
- Keep humidity down - dust mites thrive in high humidity. Do not over humidify in the winter and consider using a dehumidifier if needed - especially in hot, humid months.
- Reduce the number of stuffed animals, dry flowers, wicker baskets and other dust "collectors" in your home.
- Steam cleaners can effectively kill dust mites in mattresses, carpets, upholstery, rugs, and drapes. "Dry" vapor steam cleaners are particularly effective at killing dust mites. These steamers use no chemicals and use very small amount of water, allowing you to safely clean just about any fabric or surface.
Pollen can easily find a path into your home through windows and doors, and can be tracked inside by people and pets.
- Air purifiers are an effective way to eliminate any pollen that enters your home. A properly sized air purifier with a HEPA filter will control pollen in the air.
- Dust your home with a damp cloth to properly collect and remove the dust and pollen which has settled. Dry cloths will simply brush it into the air.
- Use a high quality vacuum system to vacuum up pollen off floor surfaces and upholstery.
Many people choose to live with pets that give one or more family members slight allergic reactions. A few easy suggestions to reduce reactions:
- Air purifiers are very effective in eliminating dander, fur and pet saliva in the air. They can significantly reduce the chronic sneezing and wheezing associated with cat and other pet allergies.
- Keep the pets outside as much as possible. If this is not possible, try to limit them to specific areas of the house - preferably areas without carpet or upholstered furniture. In addition, keep pets out of the bedroom.
- For carpeted areas, vacuum OFTEN with a high-quality vacuum. Consider purchasing a vacuum with a filtration system specially designed for allergen removal.
- Wash your pets often to reduce airborne dander.
Mold grows very easily in moist, dark places. Therefore, sometimes it is can go unnoticed in an area of the home less-traveled, such as under a sink or in the basement.. A few key tips to keep mold in check:
- Use a dehumidifier or portable air conditioner to keep the relative humidity below 50%. Basements very often need dehumidifiers to keep them dry enough to ward off mold. Remember to empty the units often and clean them to prevent mildew from forming.
- It is important for bathrooms to have adequate ventilation - use venting fans, always vented to the outside. Turn on the fan when showering to reduce moisture in the air.
- Air out confined spaces such as closets and bathrooms.
- Periodically check pipes, faucets and ductwork for leaks.
It's not just for the science lab anymore. Formaldehyde is widely used in many household products from air fresheners to paint.
- Many air purifiers which eliminate particles in the air can also remove Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde and ammonia. Because there are so many household products that can emit irritating odors and fumes, these air purifiers are one way to be sure that you will be protected from irritating odors and gases in your home.
- Avoid or take proper precaution when using cleaning chemicals, floor polishers, paints and other such substances. Properly ventilate and wear a mask over your mouth and nose.
- Use a chemical free cleaning alternative. such as a steam cleaner, for your cleaning.
Smoke is highly irritating to many allergy and asthma sufferers. Exposure should be eliminated.
- There should be no smoking in the home of someone with allergies or asthma. Ask family or friends to smoke outdoors.
- If a smoke-free home is not possible, try to contain the smoking to one room of the house. Eliminate carpet, drapes and other smoke-catching items in the room. Purchase an air purifier designed to properly eliminate tobacco smoke and other gases. These purifiers can eliminate the smoke and odors caused by tobacco smoking and help to control exposure for the allergy sufferer.
With education, common sense, and a few allergen attacking products, you can drastically reduce airborne allergens in your home.
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