Did you know that more than 50 million Americans experience allergies each year? The severity of these allergies depends on the person but can range from minor to life-threatening. Severe allergies should always be treated by a doctor of course, but what about minor allergies that while annoying, aren’t severe? Today we’ll take a look at nine changes that can be made to the home to help prevent indoor allergies.
Ventilate Indoor Areas
To help minimize indoor allergies, one of the most effective options is to ventilate indoor areas. There are a variety of ways homeowners can do this, with these three options being the most common:
- Exhaust Systems – Exhaust fans draw air from inside the home and vent it outside. Kitchens and bathrooms commonly have exhaust fans, but a great way to decrease allergens inside the home is through the use of whole home exhaust systems.
- Increase Airflow – Strategically opening windows can provide the same effect as exhaust systems, when those windows are equipped with allergen blocking screens. According to Allergy Guard, nano screen technology can block a wide variety of allergens, up to and including airborne water droplets that could be carrying diseases.
- Dehumidify – Exhaust fans and increased airflow can’t completely eliminate moisture from the air. Using a dehumidifier can eliminate this moisture, which in turn eliminates mold spores that can cause allergies.
Control Indoor Allergens
Using increased ventilation and airflow to prevent allergies can be aided by controlling indoor allergens. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America states that generally, there are more allergens on a home’s surfaces than in the air. Because of this, cleaning is important to allergen control. They suggest focusing on these three areas:
- Pet Allergens – Families that have pets should regularly vacuum rooms their pets use. Bedding should also be washed on a regular basis, and pets should be groomed outdoors to reduce the amount of fur and dander that ends up inside the home.
- Soft Furniture – Couches, chairs, mattresses and other soft furniture that isn’t easy to clean are big sources of indoor allergens. These areas should be vacuumed and/or shampooed every few months when possible.
- Carpeting – Carpet is one of the biggest contributors to indoor allergens. Those who suffer from mild allergies should vacuum at least once a week. For more severe allergies, removing carpeting and replacing it with flooring that doesn’t hold dust, dander, etc is a good option.
Tips From the Pros
This Old House also has some great advice on changes homeowners can make to allergy-proof their homes. These tips include:
- Finding out what you are allergic to, and then focusing on the bedroom first. For example, if a homeowner is allergic to dust, then zip-on dust mite covers make a lot of sense.
- Regularly changing the air filters in the home’s heating and cooling system. Similarly, upgrade to a vacuum that has a HEPA filter.
- Using doormats to help avoid tracking in allergens, and if possible, having family members and guests leave their shoes and coats at the door.
Allergies aren’t any fun to deal with, especially if they occur year-round. Minimizing the number of allergens brought into the home and making small changes to address indoor allergens can make your home a nearly allergy-free zone.