Dealing with dust allergies is a battle that affects many people, especially during the spring. To win the battle you need strategies that will help reduce the triggers in your home. Creating safe spaces where your lungs can “rest” is the key. Allergists refer to our immune system as a bucket that fills up over time. When our buckets become full we deal with allergic reactions. Each of us have different sized buckets, but we all need places in our homes where we can let our immune systems rest from dust, pollutants and irritants. Here are some things you can do in your home to create a clean and safe environment.
Cleaning more often – A simple, inexpensive step is to dust and vacuum more often. People in Europe use their vacuum to do most of their dusting. They use the dusting brush and go over all the wood and fabric surfaces with the vacuum. This makes cleaning quick and easy as well as very efficient. The vacuum captures and holds the dust. Wiping the dust with a dry cloth can put the allergens back into the air which defeats the purpose of cleaning.
Plants – Indoor plants are not only beautiful to look at, they also help clean the air we breathe in our homes. In fact, NASA calls plants “nature’s life support system”. By adding a potted plant like a Peace Lilly or Spider Plant to your home you will be naturally removing allergic toxins in your air. Place plants in the most used areas of your home, such as the living room and bedrooms..
Air purifiers – Our indoor air has been shown to be much more polluted than the air we breathe outdoors. We spend 90 percent of our time indoors, so it’s important that we clean it constantly. During most of the year we keep our windows closed to keep out the cold or heat. With limited air exchange we end up breathing the same air over and over again. Using a HEPA rated air purifier throughout the house will remove the allergens and keep pollutants to a minimum.
Mattress and pillow covers – We spend more than a third of our lives sleeping so an important place to focus on air quality is in the bedroom. Starting with your bed, find encasement covers for your pillows and mattresses to keep dust mite allergens away from your body. For some allergy sufferers, investing in hypoallergenic pillows and bedspreads may be the best solution. Down pillows are soft and very comfortable but can trigger allergies while you are sleeping. Wash pillows and blankets often in very hot water and dry on a hot setting to kill dust mites and remove their droppings
Remove stuffed animals and draperies – Dust accumulates in fabrics. Since we don’t dust or wash our draperies every time we clean, they tend to collect a tremendous amount of dust which can be a trigger for those suffering from dust allergies. Stuffed animals also collect dust in a child’s room and can trigger an allergic or asthmatic reaction. The safest alternative is to completely remove drapes, curtains and stuffed animals – especially in the bedroom. Instead, use hard window treatments such as window blinds and shutters. If your child has trouble parting with their favorite stuffed animal, place it in a pillow case once a week and wash it in hot water and dry on a hot setting.
Considering hard flooring vs carpeting – Carpeting, like draperies, are dust magnets. Even the best vacuum can’t remove all the dust and dander from a carpet. Allergist recommend removing all the carpeting in a home and replacing it with hard wood flooring. Hard floors are much easier to keep clean and the dust can be kept to a minimum. However, removing carpet throughout a home and replacing with hardwoods can get expensive. For a more economical solution, we recommend a professional carpet cleaning to reach the harmful dust mites hidden below the surface.
HEPA rated vacuum – Make sure you have a high-quality vacuum that has a HEPA rated filtering system. There are many different vacuums advertising they are good at removing allergens, but make sure you research the brand before making a purchase. There are only a few vacuums that are rated HEPA. Remember that you want to look for a vacuum that is rated HEPA not a vacuum that uses HEPA rated filters. A vacuum rated HEPA cleans the surfaces it touches as well as the surrounding air you breathe.
Dust mite sprays on furniture – Some people ask if dust mite removal sprays work and the answer is yes, but you need to be careful should someone in your home also have a chemical sensitivity. Spraying your fabric furniture with these sprays will kill the dust mites living in them, but they also add another type of pollutant to your air.
Keep humidity low – Dust mites like dark, moist environments so keeping the humidity low in your home is a great way to combat dust mites naturally. Use a dehumidifier all year round to keep the moisture in the air below 50%.
Keep pets out of the bedrooms – We all love our pets but their dander can be a trigger for someone dealing with allergies or asthma. Keep pets out of the sleeping area of someone dealing with allergies.
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