As many as 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children suffer from allergies, making it one of the biggest health concerns in modern times. Many allergens lurk throughout the house, and in most homes, the air is up to five times more polluted than outdoor air, even during spring. However, there are ways to combat the problem of indoor allergies in your Birmingham, Alabama, home. If you're searching for ways to keep allergies out of your home this spring, here are a few tips to follow.
Change the Air Filter
One of the best ways to prevent allergies in the home is by remembering to change the HVAC filter. These filters help remove harmful contaminants and allergens from the air before they reach the air ducts, improving air quality and breathability in the process. However, these filters become clogged after 30 to 90 days depending on your HVAC usage and become far less efficient at removing particulates from the air. That's why it's important to set a reminder. If you can't remember, many smart thermostats let you know when it's time to change the filter.
Eliminate Unnatural Scents
While scented candles and air fresheners provide a pleasant odor, they also emit chemicals called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These chemicals can cause respiratory problems and headaches, as well as worsen the symptoms of allergy sufferers. If you still want a nice smell in your home, boiling lemons and cinnamon is a viable alternative that won't harm your breathing or cause your allergies to flare up.
Take Care of Your Pet
Although cats and dogs are a source of joy and part of the family in many households, they can wreak havoc on allergy sufferers. Pets shed dander, which is a combination of dead skin cells and hair that aggravates symptoms. In extreme cases, you may have to get rid of your pet, but there are ways to lessen their impact on indoor air quality.
One way to reduce the effect of pet dander is to keep them out of the bedroom at all costs. In addition, keeping the pet off any carpeting or rugs will drastically lower the amount of dander that you come in contact with. As a last barrier against pet dander, bathe your pet frequently, and if possible, shave or trim their hair when they begin to shed during spring.
Get a New Vacuum Cleaner
If you own an old vacuum, chances are you may be stirring up more dirt into the air than removing it from your home. Outdated bag vacuums don't have the best filters, and if you don't replace them or clean them every so often, it can negatively affect your indoor air. That's when it's time to upgrade to a new vacuum. Most new vacuums have a high-efficiency HEPA filter, which traps particles as small as 0.3 microns. With such a powerful filter, these vacuums drastically reduce allergens that spew into the air.
Dust mites are one of the most invasive allergy triggers in the home. They penetrate any type of cloth surface, especially couches and beds. To combat this infiltration, mite-proof covers. These prevent dust mites from creating a colony in your bed sheets, mattress, or living room seating. Aside from using covers, make sure to wash your sheets at least once every week in hot water followed by a drying on the highest heat available.
Mold is another leading source of allergies. It grows easily in moist conditions such as those found in bathrooms, so reducing wetness can lower the prevalence of mold. When you're using the shower, turn on a fan or open a window to minimize moisture. If you're using a sink, make sure to mop up the water when you're done.
Reducing allergies in your home isn't always an easy process, but the more you know, the easier it becomes. If you do all these tasks and you're still concerned about indoor air quality, make sure let one of our pros at AC Southeast know.