Check your allergies at the door!
If you want to reduce your allergy symptoms, one of the best ways is to spring clean. However, you don’t want to do just any spring cleaning; you want to do the right spring cleaning. That’s where the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is hoping to help you out.
Apparently many of us have already heard this message loud and clear. In a study conducted by AAFA, 67-percent of respondents indicated that they already spring clean to improve their allergy symptoms. As a result, AAFA wants to help Americans do their spring cleaning effectively. For instance, a simple sweeping won’t get irritants out of the air, and could make allergies worse. In order to get the most from our efforts, we should be using effective cleaning methods to address the most common allergy culprits, such as dust mites, pet dander and common household mold.
So, why does spring cleaning work? Well, if you spend a lot of your time in your home environment, a good spring cleaning will actually manage your indoor air quality. As a result, you can lessen congestion, coughing, sneezing and other respiratory symptoms.
Our primary offenders for the allergic are dust mites and pet dander. Here is an easy list of cleaning tips to help you get rid of these irritants:
- Maintain the right level of humidity in your home. In general, it should be kept at about 50-percent.
- Vacuum frequently. Be sure to use a vacuum with good air filtering - such as a double bag or Hepa filter vacuum.
- Always keep your pets off your furniture, no matter how much you love them!
- Don’t just clean your home; clean your pet! A weekly bath for Fido or Fluffy will do wonders.
- Reduce dust mites by washing your bed linens in hot water that’s at least 130-degrees Fahrenheit at least once a week.
- Cover mattresses and pillows in allergen-proof covers to reduce your exposure to allergens while sleeping. While this isn’t “cleaning” per se, it will manage your air quality and reduce your exposure to dust mites.
Mold is the other major indoor air irritant. Unfortunately, it’s an allergy trigger that we don’t pay as much attention to, but we should. There are a number of simple strategies that will help to keep mold exposure in check:
- Run your air conditioning during hot humid weather.
- Get the wrench out and fix those leaky pipes. They are a source of moisture, which promotes mold growth.
- Use exhaust fans in both the kitchen and the bathroom to reduce moisture.
- Use soap and water to remove mold stains on hard surfaces. Kill mold spores and any remaining fragments with a cleaner that has a low concentration of bleach.
Cleaning products can be just as allergenic as the irritants you are trying to clean up! Always read your labels to avoid a reaction.
March 30, 2006
Thousand Oaks Acorn