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How to Tackle Allergies in the Home with a Desiccant Dehumidifier and More Great Tips
Did you know that 1 in 5 people suffer from allergies? According to WebMD 55% of the American population test positive to at least one or more allergens. Not all allergies are caused by outdoor elements either. 90% of our time is spent indoors, 39% of US households have one or more dogs and 33% have one or more cats. Most homes are carpeted and contain soft furnishings and draperies where allergens can hide.
Allergens are present in every home. Most indoor allergens are caused by pet dander, dust mites, pollen, mold, and yes, cockroaches. Medications help but control begins in the home. Below are ways to help control allergies in the home. Since most of our time is spent indoors, make it a comfortable space that's allergen free.
Frequently dust hard surfaces
Dust collects on hard surfaces and within the dust are the microscopic dust mites. These dust mites feed on our skin scales. Gross, right? It's true, and these pesky pests are what cause allergies symptoms to increase.
Keep them off of hard surfaces by frequently wiping surfaces down with a suitable cleaner. Maintain hard flooring in the same manner. Keep flooring clean with a stick vacuum that picks up dust, pet dander, and other debris and manages grime too.
Clean soft furnishings and carpets often
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America or AAFA, 75% of homes are made up of soft surfaces. These soft surfaces are breeding grounds for dust mites and other allergens. Couches, rugs, and carpets are places dust mites and pet dander can gather. Food crumbs fall between the cushions of a couch, dust mites can settle along the crevices, and pet dander can gather in crevices and along seams. Room corners are a place where pet dander gathers and unless vacuumed on a regular basis can get excessive.
Carpet is a breeding ground for allergens too. Mold can grow beneath the surface. It's best to install hardwood or linoleum flooring. It's easier to maintain. Lay rugs around the room for warmth and be sure they're washable so you can keep them clean. If you have carpets, use a low pile type of carpet and vacuum at least twice weekly.
Clean and replace AC and heat filters
Whatever your AC and heat system consists of the filter needs to be maintained. A central AC and heating system houses a large filter that needs to be changed every few months. These are easily obtained at most hardware stores or from the manufacturer of your system.
Some filters are washable and some need to be replaced either way they should be monitored so you can benefit from optimal cooling and heating. A window AC, room exhaust fan, and space heater include washable filtering systems that are easy to remove and replace. Keeping filters clean improves indoor air quality.
Measure and control humidity levels
High humidity means there's too much moisture in the air. Excessive moisture can cause mold spores to grow on and beneath household surfaces. It also causes the breading of dust mites too. These critters thrive in moist environments. The best way to eliminate excessive moisture is with a dehumidifier. There are different types for different needs.
A desiccant dehumidifier requires little maintenance. There is no filter to change and the desiccant material lasts for years. They're smaller and more portable but quite effective in bathrooms etc... Mechanical dehumidifiers are larger and require filter changes, but they dehumidify large spaces. Either way, a dehumidifier is a great way to control moisture and prevent the growth of the mold spore allergen.
Use an allergen reducing spray
Allergen reducing sprays like Frebreze Allergen Reducer keep allergens under control. Following manufacturer instructions, you can use this spray on couches, curtains, carpets, mattresses, and other soft household surfaces.
The ingredients are designed to control dust mites and the pet dander that can become airborne from fabrics. It also eliminates odors and leaves behind a fresh, clean scent.
Mattresses and bedding
The AAFA suggests covering all pillows and mattresses with a plastic zipper covering. This prevents dust mites from breeding on these surfaces. If covering them is not an option then it is important to keep these items clean by vacuuming the mattress and washing bedding often. And don't forget stuffed toys. Dust mites thrive on these items.
It's also important to remember to replace your mattress about every 9 years. If you mattress is too old it can not only cause body aches and pains but contain multiple allergens that are difficult to get rid of.
Clean the air
Use an air purifier to capture airborne particles. This improves indoor air quality and offers filtration to capture pet dander and smoke. An air purifier can't eliminate allergens on it's own, but it can help. This helpful unit captures pollutants and also helps reduce humidity.
Similarly, an AC is also a great way to control pollutants and reduce humidity. Using an AC to stay cool allows you to keep windows and doors closed during allergy season, thus controlling the amount of pollen and pollutants that enter the home.
Last Bit of Allergy Awareness
Allergies rank 5th among other leading chronic diseases; one out of three people have chronic allergy-like symptoms: runny nose, congestion, and cough, and the percentage of households with detectable levels of dog and cat dander is 100%. Following a few simple suggestions can help make controlling allergies symptoms a little bit easier so you can benefit from a cleaner, allergen free living space.