Dust mites, pollen, and pet dander are common irritating allergens that affect Canadian’s breathing every day. But it’s not always easy to identify, locate, and eliminate these allergens. The best place to start? Clearing out dust, dander, and airborne particles.
Here are our best tips for fighting allergens in your home, simply.
Use hypoallergenic casings
Hypoallergenic casings, like pillows, mattress covers, and even furniture covers can help keep allergens at bay. Dust mites, in particular, are a main cause of wheezing and asthma for many people.
Dust mites thrive in stable, warm, semi-humid environments. They’re found in the highest concentrations where animal dander and skin flakes are plentiful. They’re not dangerous, but they’re associated with allergic rhinitis and asthma. Keeping dust mites at bay can help ease your breathing - and even improve sleep apnea.
Take care to wash your bedding and furniture coverings frequently to improve rest and breathing while asleep. Try hypoallergenic or mite-proof covers. They’re often plastic-y - not the most comfortable to sleep on - but new, woven, polyester coverings can work just as well.
Get the right vacuum
Dust is a common allergy trigger and cause of asthma for many people. But often, cleaning up that dust can make symptoms worse.
When you vacuum, sweep, or dust surfaces in your home, you can stir up particles and send them swirling in the air in your home. Not the best way to make your breathing easier!
While it’s almost impossible to stop this stir-up, it’s possible to reduce it as much as possible. HEPA-certified or bagless vacuums can suck up dirt, dust and pet hair while reducing the dust spread.
Avoid vacuuming at night (before you sleep) and empty full vacuum canisters outside, away from any allergic humans.
Install a hydroxyl-generator
Nature has its own way of dealing with toxins and allergens. UV rays from the sun react with organic molecules in the air, which create hydroxyls. Hydroxyls are molecules that easily react with other toxins, causing a chain reaction of breaking down harmful chemicals in the air.
The problem is that those hydroxyls often don’t reach indoors. They react so quickly with the available compounds in the air that they don’t make it through your windows or ventilation system untouched.
It means that the air outdoors is often cleaner than the air in your home. Buildings with poor ventilation and older HVAC systems are particularly vulnerable to poor quality indoor air.
Indoor hydroxyl generators mimic nature’s process indoors. They’re safe and odourless, don’t require much maintenance, and are energy-efficient. It’s probably the best way to breathe easy in your own home.
Change your vent filters regularly
How often do you change your vent filters? Yearly? More than that?
It’s a tip we often hear but don’t follow through on. Changing your filters can make a big difference in your indoor air quality and allergy reduction.
The frequency at which you need to change your filters depends on your situation. If you have moderate allergies and multiple pets, changing your filters once a month or more can actually improve your furnace’s efficiency by five to 15 percent, and help your symptoms dramatically.
Even if you don’t have pets, switching to a HEPA filter and changing them more frequently can reduce the amount of allergens in your home.
Get a dehumidifier
Humid and damp conditions is the leading cause of mold growth in residences in North America. They also contribute to higher dust mite populations.
Getting a dehumidifier can make your home much less hospitable to mold and mite growth. Especially in typically damp settings - basements, and older homes - dehumidifiers are key to safe air.
Still, dehumidifiers are a preventative measure, not a cure. If you find a patch of mold in your home larger than one foot by one foot, call a professional. Mold can contaminate hard-to-reach places, often unseen beyond surface mold, and can be dangerous long-term.
Use a rubber welcome mat
Simple, right? But most non-dust allergens are actually tracked in from the outdoors… on your shoes!
Pollen, grass and weed allergies can cause allergies to flare up indoors, unbeknownst to you. Keep them at bay with an outdoor rubber mat that you can wipe your shoes off on outdoors.
Better yet, keep your shoes stashed in an enclosed (but vented) mud room, garage, or other separate structure. That way, your shoes don’t have a chance to spread allergens throughout your home.
That’s it! Have you had troubles dealing with indoor allergens? Let us know in the comments!