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The Best Ways To Eliminate and Reduce Allergens In The Home

It is a well-known fact that in-home allergens cause a great number of health issues. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAI) recently reported that 1 out of every 4, or 25%, of all Americans suffer with a number of respiratory conditions including allergies and asthma.

Although it might be easy to control some of these issues with certain over the counter (OTC) or even doctor prescribed medications, the key is to eliminate and/or reduce these allergens before health issues arise and to avoid their reoccurrence in the future. If you or other family members are highly sensitive to the many allergens that are floating around in the air throughout the year, it makes sense to do everything possible to reduce or eliminate them altogether.

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In this article, our experts dust off the secrets of how to increase your home’s indoor air quality and combat health concerns caused by common allergens.

In The House

  • Maintain Proper Home Temperature and Humidity. Hot, humid houses are breeding grounds for dust mites and mold. We recommend to maintain the temperature between 68 F (20 C) and 72 F (22 C). Try to maintain a humidity level 50% or lower within the home.
  • Change Air Filters. How often your filter needs to be changed depends on the environment in which your home is located and the type of filter your system uses. If you have pets, including cats or dogs, you may want to consider changing your filter each month to remedy any clogging that resulted from shedding hair. If you are using the inexpensive $1.00 filters purchased from a local hardware store, then it is suggested you change your filter at least once a month regardless of the environment. If you live alone, you may be alright changing your filter every 3 months. In order to get the most accurate advice, a professional should be called to analyze your system.
  • The Basement. If you have a basement, consider purchasing a dehumidifier to control the humidity level in that space.
  • Prevent Mold. Close doors and windows during warm weather and use air conditioning and dehumidifiers. Remove non-washable contaminated materials such as carpeting caused by flooding. Clean washable material with a solution of 5 percent chlorine bleach and wear a protective mask when cleaning away mold. We recommend routine checking of your roof and ceilings for potential water leaks.
  • Control Pests. Remove allergy-triggering insect and mouse residue, thoroughly by vacuuming carpets and washing hard surfaces. To prevent re-infestation, seal cracks or other possible entryways. If the problem is too big for you to handle call an exterminator.
  • Routine Weekly Cleaning. For carpets, use a vacuum cleaner with a small-particle or a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. For wood or linoleum flooring we recommend using a damp-mop. For all other surfaces including the tops of doors, windowsills, and window frames use a damp cloth. We recommend that if you have allergies, either wear a dust mask or get someone who doesn’t have allergies to help you do this job.
  • Shut Windows and Doors. Close windows and doors and rely on air conditioning during pollen season. Mold and pollen spores can easily travel through screened doors and windows so you should try to keep them closed as often as you can. Clean mold and condensation from window frames and sills.
  • No Smoking. Don’t allow any smoking anywhere inside your house.

In The Bedroom

  • Flooring. Remove carpeting and use hardwood or linoleum flooring or washable area rugs. If that isn’t an option, use low-pile instead of high-pile carpeting and vacuum it weekly with a vacuum cleaner that has either a small-particle or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. You should consider shampooing the carpet frequently too.
  • Bed and Bedding. Encase pillows, mattresses and box springs in allergen-impermeable covers. Wash sheets, pillowcases and blankets at least once a week in water heated to at least 130 F (54 C). Remove, wash or cover comforters. Replace wool or feathered bedding with synthetic materials.
  • Shut Windows. Close windows and rely on air conditioning during pollen season. Clean mold and condensation from window frames and sills. Use double-paned windows if you live in a cold climate.
  • Eliminate Clutter. Remove items that collect dust, such as knickknacks, tabletop ornaments, clothing, books and magazines. Additionally, consider storing children’s toys, games, and stuffed animals in plastic bins.
  • Bath Pets. Consider bathing pets at least once a week as it will reduce the amount of allergen in the dander they shed.

In The Living Room

  • Flooring. Remove carpeting and use hardwood or linoleum flooring or washable area rugs. If that isn’t an option, use low-pile instead of high-pile carpeting and vacuum it weekly with a vacuum cleaner that has either a small-particle or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. You should consider shampooing the carpet frequently too. You should consider washing area rugs and floor mats weekly, and shampoo wall-to-wall carpets periodically.
  • Furniture. Consider replacing upholstered sofas and chairs with furniture made of leather, wood, metal or plastic.
  • Curtains And Blinds. Use washable curtains made of plain cotton or synthetic fabric. Replace horizontal blinds with washable roller-type shades.
  • Shut Windows. Close windows and rely on air conditioning during pollen season. Clean mold and condensation from window frames and sills. Use double-paned windows if you live in a cold climate.
  • Potted Plants. Find a new home for potted plants or spread aquarium gravel over the dirt to help contain mold.
  • Pets. Consider bathing pets at least once a week as it will reduce the amount of allergen in the dander they shed.
  • Fireplaces. Avoid use of wood-burning fireplaces or stoves because smoke and gases can worsen respiratory allergies. Most natural gas fireplaces won’t cause this problem.

In The Kitchen

  • The Stove. Install and use a vented exhaust fan to remove cooking fumes and reduce moisture. Most stove-top hoods simply filter cooking particulates without venting outside.
  • The Sink. Wash dishes daily. Scrub the sink and faucets to remove mold and food debris. Routinely check under the sink for plumbing leaks.
  • The Refrigerator. Wipe up excessive moisture to avoid mold growth. Discard moldy or out-of-date food. Regularly empty and clean dripping pan and clean or replace moldy rubber seals around doors.
  • The Cabinets And Counters. Clean cabinets and countertops with detergent and water. Check under-sink cabinets for plumbing leaks. Store food — including pet food — in sealed containers.

Get Tested: Identify The Problem

The first step to eliminating or reducing your allergy symptoms is to identify what is causing your allergies. In order to do this, you will have to consult with a physician in order to identify your different allergies. The physician may be one of the following specialists:

  • Otolaryngologist – Specializes in treating allergies and sinus problems
  • Dermatologist – Treats a wide variety of skin allergies
  • Ophthalmologist – Offers the treatment of burning and itching eyes that result from seasonal allergies

Armed with the knowledge presented in this article, by our team of experts, this should help eliminate and/or significantly reduce the number of allergens entering your home and negatively affecting those individuals living in it.

Contact Horizon

With over 20 years of service experience, we have helped thousands of homeowners in the Delaware, Southeastern Pennsylvania, Gloucester, Camden, Burlington County NJ, and Maryland areas with their plumbing, heating, and air conditioning needs. Our team of professionals consists of some of the most experienced and most qualified technicians working today in the Delaware Valley. These are top-notch plumbing, heating, and air conditioning technicians who can accurately diagnose and quickly fix any and all problems.

Additional Information from Horizon Services…

 

(3) Comments

  1. Marylyn Gallagher August 21st, 2014 at 2:46 pm


    I really appreciate receiving your most helpful tips and information. Thank you.

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes   No

    Feedback: 3 positive
  2. joe blow August 22nd, 2014 at 7:16 am


    So, shy shouldn’t you use tin foil in the oven????

    Horizon Services Note:

    From the email that you received you clicked the lead article which is not about tin foil.

    For the How-To Tip, please go to: http://www.horizonservicesinc.com/category/blog-posts/horizon-how-to

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes   No

  3. Anonymous August 23rd, 2014 at 9:56 am


    Allergy info is interesting, but what about the tin foil?

    Horizon Services Note:

    From the email that you received you clicked the lead article which is not about tin foil.

    For the How-To Tip, please go to: http://www.horizonservicesinc.com/category/blog-posts/horizon-how-to

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes   No

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