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Five Tips to Keep Allergies at Bay and Improve Your Indoor Air QualityMore than 100 million people in the US experience various types of allergies each year. That's around 1 in 3 people. If you're reading this in an office, on the train, or even at home, the person sitting next to you likely has allergies if you don't have them yourself.
The Allergy and Asthma Foundation lists the most common allergy triggers as tree pollen, grass pollen, weed pollen, mold spores, dust mites, cockroaches, cat and dog dander, and rodent urine. While most of those are found outside, some can be in your home, too. Pollen is everywhere, especially in Spring, and mold is almost universal in damp environments.
You might be surprised at how much of the outdoors is inside. Mold can easily find its way into your home, and small particles, such as pollen, can also easily find their way into your home via your clothing, shoes, pets, and simply by opening the door. It's also likely that you open your window on a beautiful Spring morning, which lets enormous amounts of pollen, dust, and other particles into your home along with the comfortable breeze.
May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness month, and it sits right in the middle of Spring when seasonal allergies are often at their worst.
Here are five tips to keep allergies at bay and improve indoor air quality.
- Run your bath fan. What does running a bath fan have to do with allergies? Mold grows in damp places, and the bathroom is often the room with the most moisture (with a basement or crawl space either right above or below it). Running your bath fan during, and for at least 20 minutes after, your shower will eliminate much of the moisture that builds up. Make sure your bath fan is clean and operating correctly.
- Vacuum and dust bedrooms at least once a week. Doing it with a damp cloth or low-VOC cleaning solution would be best. Consider installing hidden ventilation like a recessed light fan to ventilate bedrooms, offices, nurseries, and other living spaces.
- Run your range hood before, during, and after you cook. A range, or stove, produces all sorts of pollutants ranging from excess moisture to smoke and, in the case of gas or propane ranges, carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, which is proven to cause asthma in children. Water leaks in the kitchen can also create the right conditions for mold to grow, so look for leaks.
- Vacuum and dust living rooms at least once a week. Also, consider installing a whole home fresh air system. A fresh air system vents stale, polluted air out of the home while simultaneously bringing in fresh, filtered air. Many fresh air systems, like the Broan AI Series, offer HEPA filtration, which removes 99.97% of all airborne pollutants, including those that cause allergies. Installing a fresh air system means you don't have to open your windows to bring fresh air into your home.
- Make sure basements and crawl spaces are well-ventilated and dehumidified. A whole-home dehumidifier can handle excess moisture in crawl spaces and basements and keep humidity levels comfortable in the rest of the house. The rule of thumb is to keep your humidity between 40 and 60%. This both feels comfortable and is not too humid to give mold a chance to grow or so dry it makes your skin itch.