Indoor allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, mold, and cockroach droppings can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms in millions of allergy sufferers.1
Carried in through the air, allergens can be found on furniture, floors, and other surfaces around the house. While no home can be completely allergen-free, thorough cleaning on a regular basis can help reduce the number of allergens to which you’re exposed.1
One of the best ways to control indoor allergens is by getting rid of dust. That’s because dust mites are the most common trigger of asthma and allergy symptoms inside the home and they thrive in dust. But be aware that dusting can actually make things worse by kicking up allergen particles into the air. Use a damp or treated cloth that attracts dust rather than scattering it and consider wearing a dust mask when cleaning. Also, try to minimise clutter in your home, since it tends to collect dust.1
Here are 10 steps that you can take to reduce allergens in your home.
- Vacuum especially in areas that accumulate more dust, such as carpeting and furniture. But as with dusting, vacuuming can also send dust particles into the air and cause problems for anyone with a dust mite allergy. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which can trap small particles and prevent them from spreading into the air. Try to vacuum at least once or twice a week. 1
- Bed and Bedding. Encase pillows, mattresses and box springs in dust-mite-proof covers. Wash sheets, pillowcases and blankets at least once a week in water heated to at least 54 C°. Remove, wash or cover comforters. Replace wool or feather bedding with synthetic 2
- Curtains and Blinds. Use washable curtains made of plain cotton or synthetic fabric. Replace horizontal blinds with washable roller-type shades. 2
- Clothes Dryer. Use a clothes dryer for all bedding and clothing you wash instead of hanging it outdoors on a clothesline, which can cause laundry to become coated with pollen. 3
- Keep Windows Closed. Keep the windows in your home closed and run the air conditioner if you’re allergic to pollen. 4
- Temperature and Humidity. Hot, humid houses are breeding grounds for dust mites and mold. Maintain the temperature between 20 C° and 22 C°. Clean or replace small-particle filters in central heating and cooling systems and air conditioners at least once a month. 2
- Mold. Close doors and windows during warm weather and use air conditioning and dehumidifiers. Remove non-washable contaminated materials such as carpeting. Clean washable material with a solution of 5 percent chlorine bleach and wear a protective mask when cleaning away mold. Check the roof and ceilings for water leaks.2
- Indoor Plants. Don’t collect too many indoor plants. Soil encourages mold growth. 4
- Reduce Pet Dander. The protein found in the saliva, urine, and dander (dead skin flakes) of our furry friends is a common allergen for many people. These allergen particles can become airborne and trigger symptoms in those who are sensitive. You can reduce animal dander by vacuuming frequently and bathing your pet at least once a week. Other measures you can take include keeping your pet out of your bedroom and off of the furniture and designating certain areas of the house as pet-free zones. 1
- Use Green Cleaning Products. Many harsh chemicals found in common household cleaners can aggravate or trigger symptoms in people who have allergies and asthma. If you are sensitive to allergens, switch to green, environmentally friendly cleaning products, which have natural and plant-based ingredients. Fortunately, there are many options today for people who are looking for green cleaners. You can also make your own natural products using ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemon. 1
Prevention is the best treatment for any allergy, and especially for severe allergies. Learn as much as you can about your family’s allergies, teach them how to minimise allergens at home, and work with your doctor on an allergy prevention and action plan.
DISCLAIMER: This editorial has been commissioned and brought to you by iNova Pharmaceuticals. Content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.
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- Everyday Health. Cleaning Your Home to Control Allergens. [online] [cited May 2019]; Available from URL: https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/allergy-photos/tips-to-keep-your-home-allergen-free/
- Mayo Clinic. Allergy-proof your home. [online] September 2018 [cited May 2019]; Available from URL: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/in-depth/allergy/art-20049365?p=1
- Everyday Health. Creating an Allergy-Friendly Household. [online] https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/managing-child-allergies/allergy-friendly-household/
- How to Allergy-Proof Your World. [online] February 2017 [cited May 2019]; Available from URL: https://www.webmd.com/allergies/allergy-proof-your-environment?print=true