Controlling Indoor Allergens

Itchy nose, watery eyes, frequent sneezing, scratchy throat—these are all too familiar allergy symptoms to the over 40 million allergy sufferers out there. And often it seems to those affected by indoor/ outdoor allergies that they are at the mercy of Mother Nature. But there are many things you can do to make your home less likely to trigger allergies, mostly by enacting a course of action that involves cleaning up and reducing the number of hiding places for indoor allergens.

According to an Infographic on the website allergybegone.com, many common indoor allergens can be reduced by taking simple steps to make your home less friendly to these allergens. Common indoor allergens include:

  • Dust
  • Dust Mites
  • Pet Dander
  • Pollen
  • Cockroaches
  • Mold
  • Endotoxins

Treatment for dust includes mopping and vacuuming with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter in it. Also adding an air cleaner with a HEPA or electrostatic filter can keep dust to a minimum.

Dust mites are often found in mattresses and bedding. By cleaning bedding every 7 to 10 days in hot water , and not using mattress pads these allergy triggers can be somewhat controlled.

Bathing your pets often and using an air cleaner can help to keep pet dander at bay.

Pollen in the home can be reduced by keeping doors and windows closed and using an air conditioner. Also showering or bathing before bed can help keep pollen at a minimum in your home.

Cockroach debris is another allergen found in indoor air. By following common cockroach control practices— keeping all food sealed, not keeping pet food out for extended periods of time, keeping all cracks and holes sealed— this allergen can be lessened.

Mold loves to grow in bathrooms. By regularly cleaning bathroom surfaces with bleach and water, removing houseplants, not carpeting bathrooms, and using mold-proof paint, mold can be kept to a minimum.

The same control methods for dust and mold helps reduce endotoxins, bacteria that can live in dust.

Keeping your home clean and reducing hiding places for allergens by eliminating carpeting and bulky drapes and furniture where possible helps make your indoor air friendly to allergy sufferers.

Celebrate Indoor Air Quality Month with Filters Fast

Halloween isn’t the only thing to celebrate this month. October is National Indoor Air Quality Month, and several states, including North Dakota, Michigan and Montana are celebrating by spreading the word about the dangers of harmful indoor (and outdoor) air contaminants.

Seasonal changes often result in higher incidences of allergy problems and illnesses. Pollen is prevalent in the spring and fall opens the door to ragweed. Asthma, often caused by air pollution, is a growing epidemic among children and adults, resulting in missed school and work days, along with emergency room visits, and in extreme cases, even death. Indoor air pollution deserves way more attention than it currently receives. Though many people are aware of air contaminants such as mold, tobacco smoke and carbon monoxide, they may not be fully aware of just how dangerous these allergens can be. It is important to raise awareness and educate others on how they can avoid the problems caused by air pollution.

Here are some tips to help you improve the indoor air quality in your home:

1. Take our Indoor Air Quality Quiz to find out how dangerous your home environment is.

2. Quit smoking and avoid secondhand tobacco smoke.

3. Regularly change the A/C filters and microwave and hood range filters in your home.  Air filters with a higher MERV rating are more efficient at removing microscopic particles. You may also want to purchase an air purifier.

4. Use a HEPA vacuum cleaner and change the HEPA filter regularly.

5. Clean furniture regularly (more if you have pets in your home). Use non-toxic household cleaning products. Use hypoallergenic bedding.

Like any other national holiday, the  month of October is a time for recognition and remembrance – specifically the recognition of the importance of clean air. Join the observance and celebrate by spreading the word and sharing this post.

Sex Changing Chemicals in Your Indoor Air

Apparently your drinking water is not the only substance that could induce a sex change. Endocrine disrupting chemicals, (EDC’s) also labeled “gender-benders,” have also been found in the air you breathe.

Endocrine disruptors are found in many everyday products, such as detergents, carpets, furniture, electronic equipment, pesticides and building materials.  EDC’s are more concentrated indoors than outdoors, according to a recent study. These chemicals affect indoor air quality, and long term exposure may cause “adverse health effects.”

(Considering that some species of fish exposed to atrazine, a common EDC, have been found with both male and female sex organs – I think “adverse health effects” might be somewhat of an understatement…)

Researchers suggest that concerned people limit their exposure to these compounds by using fewer of the products that contain them. And, of course, we at Filters Fast believe that investing in a high quality, HEPA air purifier couldn’t hurt.