(StatePoint) Many people seek refuge indoors around this time of year, when outdoor air is full of pollen and other allergens. For allergy sufferers, however, the air indoors can prove to be just as problematic.
Dust that collects in a home contains common household allergens such as dust mite particles and animal dander. If dust is disturbed from furniture, hard surfaces and carpet, those allergens can become airborne and reduce indoor air quality.
May is designated National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, and it is an excellent time to make your home cleaner and healthier by removing common household allergens and improving your indoor air. Even if you don’t have asthma or allergies, everyone can benefit from better indoor air quality.
“The way you clean your home is important. Most household cleaning routines only re-circulate allergens throughout your home rather than removing them,” says Justin Bates, president of Stanley Steemer, International, Inc. “If your cleaning routine doesn't specifically focus on dust and allergen removal, you may be only moving them around, sending allergens back into the air.”
To maximize your cleaning efforts while reducing allergens, consider these simple tips:
• Dust hard surfaces regularly with moist cloths or special dry dusters designated to trap and lock dust.
• Wash your bedding and linens often. Doing so can help you control dust mites in your home.
• Vacuum often. Although cleaning can sometimes trigger allergic reactions by releasing dust into the air, vacuuming floors once or twice a week will reduce surface dust and allergens. Make sure your vacuum has a high efficiency air filter to capture dust.
• Use a certified professional carpet cleaning service to deep clean your carpets to remove the stains, spills and dust that regular vacuuming leaves behind. Be sure to use a service that’s qualified to reduce allergens in the home. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recommends a certified professional carpet cleaning every three to four months.
• Protect yourself when doing housework by wearing a mask. After cleaning, consider leaving for a few hours to avoid allergens in the air.
• Reduce pet dander. If you have allergies, don’t keep pets with feathers or fur, such as birds, dogs and cats in your home. Animal saliva and dead skin, also known as pet dander, can cause allergic reactions. If you already have a pet, keep it out of the bedroom.
• Shut out pollen. Inspect your windows for a film of pollen on the frame or sill. Prevent pollen from entering your home by keeping windows and doors closed. Use an air filter and clean it regularly or run the air conditioner and change the filter often.
Over 70 million Americans suffer from asthma and allergies. If you’re one of them, be proactive. National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month is the perfect time to eliminate triggers in your home so you can breathe more easily. A cleaner home is a healthier home.
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