How to Control Indoor Allergens
Allergens are substances that might cause an allergic reaction in a human being. Some people are more susceptible to certain allergens - a good example is hay-fever sufferers who react badly to pollen. Indoor allergens are those substances most commonly found in the home.
The list of indoor allergens includes house dust, the spores from mold, the chemicals used to treat fabrics, cat and dog dander, dust mites and the pollen from some houseplants. All of these substances can lead to your indoor air quality being much worse than the air outside. In fact, the American Lung Association suggests that it might be up to 5 times worse in some cases.
Here in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV allergens can have a major impact throughout the year with our high levels of dust, pollen and wind. It's a nasty combination, but you can minimize your risk and symptoms by following our tips below.
Tips to Control Indoor Allergens
While allergies can't be cured, steps can be taken to reduce the causes of those allergies. Here are a few ideas for making your home less susceptible to allergens:
1. Change Your Indoor Decor
Wall-to-wall carpets are real dirt traps. If at all possible swap your carpets for tile or wooden floors. They are much easier to keep clean, and don't hold on to dirt. If you keep pets, this type of flooring is by far the best. If you really need to have softness under your feet, use rugs. They can be often be washed in your machine or taken outside and shaken or beaten.
Keep your home decor simple. Avoid fancy frilled curtains and choose washable sofa covers. Chairs and tables need to be kept clean at all times - get easy-to-clean ones if you can.
Keep magazines and books to a minimum and avoid displaying ornaments and other items that gather dust. Keep children's toys stored, preferably in plastic toy boxes with close-fitting lids. In other words, become minimalist!
2. Keep Out Smoke
Do not allow smoking inside your home. Also keep your venting fan on whenever you cook. Cooking with spices can bring on allergic reactions in some people.
Think before you open your window. Letting in the outside air might seem like a good way to freshen-up the house. Remember that pollen can come in on that air too.
3. Minimize Dirt Brought In From Outdoors
Dirt from outside can easily be brought into your house. Leave your shoes at the door and wipe your dog's feet after a walk. Doing this can make a big difference to the amount of dirt carried through the house.
4. Combat Mold In Your Home
Mold spores are a major source of irritants for those suffering with allergies. Keep mold down by establishing a regular cleaning regime. Mold will thrive in places that are damp, so make sure your bathroom is cleaned frequently. Don't forget your shower curtain!
Furniture tends not to get moved very often, especially when it is set against a wall. Pull out any dressers, cupboards and beds that are rarely moved and check for mold behind them. Clean thoroughly before putting the furniture back in place. Use an anti-mold spray where possible.
Keep your windows clean and remove any mold on the sills or in crevices. Keep curtains clean, too. If at all possible, blinds are a better option as they are less likely to harbor dust.
5. Minimize Pet Allergens
This is the hardest control to implement. If you love pets, yet suffer from a reaction to pet dander, you should not be keeping them. Most people, however, would not dream of giving up their pet.
So, what to do? Keep your pet well-groomed and don't allow them in your bedroom. Wash your pet's bowls frequently and do the same with any toys that can be washed. The National Sanitation Foundation rate pet bowls and toys high on their list of sources of germs in the home.
6. Prevent Rodents From Entering Your Home
Check your house for possible entry points for mice, rats and cockroaches. Cockroaches, particularly, are hard to deter. They come out at night and leave detritus behind them. According to WebMD this is a major cause of nasal and respiratory allergies.
To deter mice and rats seal up any cracks or holes in outer walls. Check any pipes for leakages and cracks, as mice can enter through very small spaces. Don't leave food or food waste in the open and clean up any food spillages.
Most vermin can be controlled with traps, which you can buy in any hardware store. You might even think about getting a cat!
7. Clean Your Air Ducts!
The air ducts throughout your house will get filled with dust, mold and even dead vermin! If you are worried about the possible build-up of these substances in your air ducts, get them cleaned. Air duct cleaning will improve the efficiency of your HVAC unit anyway. This can also save you a lot of money over the years by reducing the amount of energy your HVAC unit needs to use.
If you have a problem with allergens in your home, your best weapon to fight them is cleaning. Keep your home clean and the allergen intensity will be reduced. Establish a cleaning routine to make the task easier. A clean home is a happy home!