Allergy Proof Your House
Hay fever and other outdoor allergies bother many people in certain times of the year, especially. However, indoor pollution is up to twice as high as what you get outdoors! More worrying still is the fact that it is quite concentrated as ventilation exists only in comparatively cramped quarters, compared with the great outdoors. It thus behooves us to be very aware of everything that can be causing us to develop allergies. We may not be able to cure but we can treat so that our allergies become manageable by cleaning your home and looking after your home climate.
What Could I Be Allergic To In My Home?
- Vacuum Cleaners – Unless you have a high-end vacuum cleaner with a True HEPA filter and tight suction, you could actually be dispersing rather than removing allergens, because they’re so small. Debris like pet hair, dirt, dust may be gone, but not allergens. Crucially, these are the things that can get lodged in the lungs and cause us to become unwell. Regular twice-weekly vacuuming is still recommended, but perhaps you’ll want to think about the quality of your current machine. You may even want to invest in a central vacuum system, or rather get someone to install one for you. This will eliminate the need to wheel around a box and mean that enough air is being suctioned up and whisked away through internal tubing to a remote storage area in your house.
- Cleaning Products – These are of course very useful but can irritate people’s airways if there is not good ventilation. This in turn can cause severe symptoms for those with respiratory weaknesses, those who are vulnerable to chest infections and possibly have asthma. Proper ventilation is key and is easily achievable by opening plenty of windows around the house. You can also wear a mask such as a painter decorators mask if you yourself suffer from asthma.
- Pets – Pets not only shed dander but bring in other allergies, for example, pollen or mold. Their close proximity to their owners presents a real problem for allergy sufferers; so regular baths and restrictions as to where they go outside, are imperative. Cat owners who visit as guests may also bring allergens into your home, so thoroughly vacuuming might be the price you pay in order to host them. You might even ask them to leave their belongings, coats and bags, in a separate room; they’ll understand!
- Humidity – Mold thrives on humidity; so do dust mites. Keeping humidity levels lower than 40% is therefore important. However, dry air under 20% humidity can also cause your nasal passages to generate excess mucus in order to moisturize them. Investing in a hygrometer is useful and will help you to monitor when you need to use a dehumidifier, and when you don’t.
Can You Test Your House For Allergens?
Dust mites, cat dander and pollen are all examples of allergens. They can sometimes cause allergic reactions and on occasion death. Usually, fatigue, a runny nose, and congested sinuses are the main symptoms.
- Detection – Blood tests can be a highly effective way of nailing down exactly what it is you are allergic to. You should also consider seeing a specialist like an allergist or pulmonologist, as well as your physician. They will be able to give you more specific guidance and put a plan in place to help you manage your allergic symptoms. Knowing how to interpret your blood test will also help you to become more confident in tackling the cause of the problem.
- Removing allergens – After seeking medical advice you will have some options presented to you. You can also take in samples of the dust from areas in your home you can request a detailed report explaining what allergens there are in your home. There are various kits on the market that, in conjunction with blood testing, can inform you which particular allergens need to be removed from your home.
- Bedroom – Safe Zone – Sleeping takes up a large portion of our life, in which we are static breathers of air which is often trapped and recycled. We therefore must clean the bedroom and all bedding extremely well so as to get rid of pet dander. Steam cleaning and dry cleaning can help. You may need to part with your pet, if the medical practitioner recommends you do so.
- Dust Mites – Dehumidifying a room may make life very difficult for the pesky dust mite; they love humid environments. You might take the strange step of covering your bedding in plastic or even rubber wrapping, although it might not make for the most comfortable night’s sleep. Thorough cleaning, especially with sheets, pillow cases, and curtains, is the best strategy.
How Can I Reduce Allergens In My Home?
- Air filtration – This is a great plan because you just can’t control the amount of pollution and number of allergens that come streaming into and through your home every day. An air purifier that has a True HEPA filter is best, and smart air purifiers can help you control your unit from afar. You may also research air purifiers’ filter types; permanent, washable, or disposable, and see which one best suits you.
- Temperature and humidity – Dust mites love hot, humid dwelling spaces, so try to keep the temperature somewhere between 68 F (20 C) and 72 F (22 C); relative humidity no higher than 50 percent. You ought to cleanse and, if necessary, replace filters in central heating and cooling systems, about once a month.
- Pests – Mice and cockroaches need to be dealt with, either by an exterminator or by purchasing reasonably priced traps from your local convenience store. Mouse residue can be removed through vacuum cleaning; possible holes should be sealed to stop any further re-infestations from occurring.
- Mold – Through wall air conditioning and dehumidifiers can help you control the air temperature and make it harder for mold to gain a foothold in your home. You would be best served by getting rid of your carpets, while any surface that is washable should be cleansed with a bleach solution, wearing a protective mask to protect your airways. Ceilings should be examined to ensure there are no damp patches or water leaks emerging.
These steps should help you become as allergy proof as possible.
- Allergens – UF Pediatric Pulmonary Division
- 6 Ways to Reduce Allergens in Your Home – Cedars-Sinai
- Controlling Your Home Environment to Prevent Asthma Flares – Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia