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Allergy Control at Home - Fighting With Allergies
For those who suffer from allergies, life can be torturous at times. Constant sneezing, runny nose, watery itchy eyes, hives and for some even worse. Although there are drugs to control most of the symptoms, there are still other things that can be done to make living with allergies more tolerable. The best form of allergy control is preventing or limiting exposure to allergens.
Some of the most common allergens in the home are dust mites, mold, cockroaches and pet dander. To reduce allergy symptoms, it’s best to eliminate the source. Lots of people who are allergic to pet dander have one or more animals in the home and have no intentions of getting rid of their beloved pet. To reduce the allergens in pets make sure to bathe the animal weekly. There are also over the counter pet dander reducers. These can be found at most pet stores. Use of these products on a weekly basis paired with the bathing can help a lot. Keeping pets out of the bedroom is very important. Because we spend so much time in our bedrooms it should be the one room in the house that is kept as close to “allergen free” as possible.
To keep allergens in the bedroom down, all mattresses and pillows should have dust resistant covers under the sheets and pillowcases. All bedding should be washed on a weekly basis. Avoid down pillows and blankets. If you have curtains, make sure to wash those too. For plush toys and pillows, place them in a bag and freeze them for 24 hours to kill the dust mites that are deep within the filler material. Afterward, wash the toys in the washing machine.
Carpeting contains the most allergens because it covers most of the house. To control allergens you can either remove the carpeting, or invest in a really good steam cleaner. There are products on the market that kill dust mites. These are usually a mild pesticide and should be used with care.
Cockroaches are a common allergen and some don’t even realize it. Most people are allergic to these troublesome insects. Roaches get into everything and as they move through your house they leave little black droppings everywhere. These droppings are commonly known as “Roach dust”. This is the black grainy looking stuff that resembles pepper. Not only is this disgusting “dust” loaded with bacteria and potential disease, it’s also an allergen.
Roaches are one of the most difficult pests to get rid of, but it can be done. The best way to reduce your risk of infestation is to make living for them next to impossible. Keep old newspaper and brown paper bags away from warm areas. If you must keep them, store them out in the garage. Make sure that the moisture levels in your kitchen and bathroom are kept low. Condensation on pipes is one of the main sources of water for roaches. Insulate all pipes to keep moisture down. Roaches are notorious for their survival skills so you have to cover all bases. Make sure that you keep all food products in sealed containers, and make sure that all food and even powdered detergent spills are cleaned up right away. Roaches will eat soap too.
Keeping allergens down in the kitchen and bathroom can be a bit tricky. Mold spores thrive on humidity. Because the moisture levels in the bathroom are so high, mold and mildew can grow out of control releasing spores into the air. To prevent infestation install vent fans in the kitchen and bathroom to get the humidity out. In the kitchen make sure that you dispose of out dated food because cheese, bread and other foods can grow mold and result in mold spores. Most allergens thrive in higher humidity. Studies are now showing that homes with de-humidifiers have a lower dust mite and mold spore count. Consider purchasing one for the home. Make sure to keep an eye on the drip pan under the refrigerator. Those can harbor mold and mildew, so it’s best to clean the drip pan out every so often.
If you have a forced air furnace, have the ducts professionally cleaned at least once a year and install an electrostatic furnace filter. These filters trap allergens and dust better than the standard furnace filters do. Using and air cleaner with a HEPA filter can greatly reduce airborne allergens. Either have one installed on your climate control unit or purchase individual units for each room. These air cleaners are a great investment.
Cloth furniture, throw pillows, drapes and curtains are known dust collectors that can be very difficult to clean. When choosing furniture, opt for vinyl or leather. Instead of drapes and curtains, purchase vinyl blinds. Even though they can get dusty, they’re still easier to clean than curtains or drapes. If you can’t part with your cloth furniture or drapes, then make sure to have them cleaned often to keep the dust levels down.
House cleaning can be a real trial when dealing with allergies. Invest in one of those bag-less vacuums that have an on board HEPA filter on the exhaust vent. These vacuum cleaners work great and will keep the dust from being redistributed throughout the house. When dusting, always use a damp rag or a dusting solution to keep the dust from flying around. Don’t spray the dusting solution directly on the surface because the force of the spray can cause the dust to go airborne. Instead, spray the solution on the rag itself then carefully wipe up all the dust.
When reducing allergens in the home, you should always keep one thing in mind. If the item can’t be effectively cleaned, it’s better to get rid of it than suffer needlessly.
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