Allergies, Asthma, and IAQ

April 14th, 2011 | Posted by admin in Blog

You might think you are protecting yourself from all the pollen and allergens outside by staying inside your home, but what about the threats your indoor air quality presents to your health? While it is true that the outside is filled with allergens and substances which can trigger asthma attacks and irritate your allergies, what is inside your home can too. There are steps you can take to reduce these indoor threats and you will read about many of them here. Asthma is a serious issue concerning IAQ and along any medications you currently take, these steps will help. As well, allergies can be averted while indoors relatively easily.

Allergens’ Negative Indoor Air Quality Impact

An allergen is a substance of varying size that causes allergic reations and can trigger asthma symptoms, from microscopic size particles to animal debris. These allergens not only drift through the air, but they also settle on furniture, floors and stationary clothing. Anything from pollen, dust mites, pet dander and roach debris are allergens. In fact, allergens present on surfaces may outnumber the particles in the air. So what are the steps you can take?

How to Minimize Allergens to Eliminate Poor Indoor Air Quality

One thing you probably are already doing is changing your Air Filter every 45 days or when its dirty, if that comes before the 45 days are up. Either way, this is a great line of defense in keeping allergens and harmful materials from causing problems with asthma and allergies.

Cleaning vigorously is another defense. Vacuum (with a HEPA filter) the carpet, dusting, washing bedsheets, and steam vacuuming the couch/love seat. Cleaning in and of itself is a line of defense that sounds like it’s common sense but many times it just doesn’t register to do these things often enough, especially when it comes to thinking about IAQ. But cleaning vigorously is only part of the solution.

Laying down plastic on mattresses and box springs, putting items such as pillows in zippered allergen resistant cases is another preventative measure one can use. Another part of the solution in helping to improve your indoor air quality so that your asthma isn’t triggered and your allergies are given a rest is to decrease humidity which, in turn, lowers growth of dust mites and molds. This can be achieved by utilizing your air conditioner and setting it on recirculate.

During Spring, it is best to keep the doors and windows closed as this is when the greatest concentration of pollen is drifting in the air. Just remember to vacuum the carpet, clean away surfaces such as tables, and wash your linens at least once per week. Doing this will certainly aid in ridding your home of allergens such as pet dander, debris and other allergy irritants.

Going further, the removal of carpeting is a measure that will immensely help those with allergies or asthma. Pet dander and other allergens can stick to the carpeting even after you’ve vacuumed. Also, roaches leave behind debris that can trigger an allergic reaction in people therefore, it is best to limit the chances of them coming out in force across your home. To help limit these pests from affecting your health, a few tips: cover your trash, do not leave food lying around after you’ve eaten or prepared food, use poison baits as the chemical variety can affect your IAQ and your allergies or asthma.

Mold Allergens: Prevent Mold for Improved Indoor Air Quality

One last thing to consider is mold. To help combat this and remove any chance it could have in adversely affecting your IAQ and your health, make sure that all leaks in the piping are fixed and sealed. This limits excess moisture within the home; excess moisture can be a breeding ground for mold growth. Other than cleaning any moldy surfaces, another tactic to put into action would be to utilize dehumidifiers. These machines can limit the amount of mold spores and even dust mites from polluting your indoor air.

While this is not the totality of all that can be done to help in the fight against polluted IAQ to aid those with allergies and/or asthma, it will certainly dramatically improve your indoor air quality and positively impact your overall health.

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