Prevent Allergies in Home

It's almost guaranteed that you or someone you know suffers from an allergic disease, or, more colloquially, an “allergy.” It means the immune system suffers from a hypersensitivity to some foreign matter. Rarely are allergies crippling or life-threatening, but they can deliver a big body-blow to our overall quality of life. Although there are treatments available, most of us will just suffer in silence, remaining wary of “high pollen count days.”

But there are ways we can minimize our allergic suffering. Here are a few tips on how you can allergy-proof your home.

                         Vacuum frequently, at least weekly. Use a machine with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which will ensure that you are banishing the allergens – dust mites and pet dander – and not just re-circulating them. Also weekly, damp-mop all wood and linoleum flooring.

                         Maintain a household temperature between 68° and 72° Fahrenheit and keep the relative humidity below 50 percent.

                         Wash or brush your pets weekly, and do it outside. Try to keep your cats and dogs out of your bedroom.

                         To minimize the build-up of mold around the base of potted plants, spread aquarium gravel over the dirt. Mold can also form on your plants' leaves – remove these immediately. Avoid letting water pool up at the base of the plant.

                         Wash your dishes daily, and be sure to scrub the faucets and sink to remove food debris and mold.

                         In the basement, set a dehumidifier between 25 and 45 percent humidity, to minimize mold. If your laundry room is located in the basement (and especially if it is not),  make sure that moisture is vented outside.

                         Keep your windows closed during pollen season, or at least during the high pollen-count hours of 10am to 3pm, and rely on air conditioning. The air filtration system in your home should, again, utilize HEPA filters, which you should change monthly. Make sure you clean mold and condensation from windows and sills, and leave your shoes (and the pollen they accumulate) outside.

                         Wood-burning stoves and fireplaces should be avoided in favor of natural gas utilities. Be sure to vent out cooking fumes with an exhaust fan.

                         Bathrooms can be a breeding ground for mold. Wipe down the walls regularly with a chlorine-bleach solution (1 ounce of bleach to a quart of water). If you don't have one already, have a ventilation fan installed and use it while showering to reduce moisture build-up. Be sure to towel dry the tub and squeegee the shower stall after each use. Clean moldy shower curtains and bathmats, and scrub mold from faucets, shower, sink and all plumbing fixtures with with bleach.

                         And, of course, do not allow smoking anywhere inside your home.