PREFACE: The following information is a copy/paste of an article I received in my e-mail from the newsletter of Medical Mutual, Healthy Outlooks.
7 Tips for a Healthy Home
Home is usually where we feel safest, but if you suffer from allergies, your home could also be your biggest irritant. To minimize allergy triggers and help you breathe easier, try these seven tips for a healthier home:
- CONTROL DUST MITES. Dust mites are the most common allergen and can be found throughout the house in soft furnishings and bedding. Enclose mattresses, box springs and pillowcases in allergen-proof covers and wash bedding weekly in hot water and machine dry on high heat.
Anything that can’t be washed regularly should be covered in allergen-free covers. Avoid wall-to-wall carpet and use throw rugs because they can easily be washed. Use a vacuum cleaner with a small-particle or high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or double bags.
- KEEP IT CLEAN. Cleaning your home often reduces dust and the chances for dust mites. Clutter can make it more difficult to clean, so store toys, stuffed animals and games in plastic bins. Mop floors and wipe down cabinets, appliances and backsplashes weekly. Choose curtains made of cotton or a synthetic fabric that can be washed, and clean carpeting weekly.
- CONTROL MOISTURE. Excessive humidity can lead to mold and mildew. Keep humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent. Use exhaust fans or open a window when showering or cooking, and make sure your dryer is vented outdoors.
- CLEAR AWAY MOLD. Clean up any mold growth in basements, bathrooms and kitchens with water, detergent or five-percent bleach, and dry the area completely. Repair leaking roofs, doors or windows, and fix any leaking pipes. If anything with mold can’t be cleaned and dried, throw it away.
- WIPE OUT PESTS. Cockroach droppings are a major allergy trigger—especially in children. Keep food in containers, vacuum and sweep after meals, wash dishes immediately and block any crevices (e.g., wall cracks and windows) where cockroaches or other critters can enter.
- BE PET SMART. It’s best to remove the pet from the home and avoid contact if you’re highly allergic—but if that’s not possible, keep animals out of the bedroom and rooms where you spend most of your time, and clean areas thoroughly to remove pet dander and saliva.
- GET COMFORTABLE. Keep the temperature in your home comfortable—this will help you keep windows closed and prevent outdoor allergy triggers from getting in.
If symptoms continue to worsen after following these steps, talk to your provider about working with an allergist/immunologist who can help with your specific needs.
\/ YOUR ENVIRONMENT should support—not suppress—your overall health. \/
CLEAR THE AIR
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, clean air machines (e.g., air purifiers) are really not air filters.
The airflow found in these systems is usually not enough to effectively filter air particles. In fact, the ozone they release can harm your nose and lungs. Your best bet for clearing the air is using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) room air cleaner rated with a Clean Air Delivery Rate. For homes with central air, cleaning the furnace filter with a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating of 11 or 12 is recommended.