Saturday, May 2, 2009
Did you know that May is Allergy & Asthma Awareness Month? We suffer from allergies here, although not severe, but I have been known to have to visit the doctor for meds and I also get sinus infections frequently! My kids have runny noses and itchy eyes also!
It is estimated that 54% of the U.S. population has a reaction to at least one allergen. Here are 12 simple steps to easily allergy-proof your home and improve indoor air quality this spring from Alen Corp. – http://www.alencorp.com:
1. Try the brush-off: Prior to entering your house, take off all shoes and brush the pollen out of hair and off clothes.
2. Crank the air conditioner: The AC filters incoming air and dehumidifies your house, protecting against mold and dust mites. Effective air conditioners should keep the humidity level around 30 to 40 percent. To monitor the level of moisture in your air, try a humidity gauge (available at home-improvement stores). Portable air conditioners are good because they also act as a dehumidifier and be moved from one room to another.
3. Change AND upgrade the filter: Change the filter in your heating-and-AC system monthly to combat debris that clogs and keeps it from top-notch performance. Upgrading to allergy grade filters - although just a few dollars more – is money well spent because they will remove a much higher percentage of allergens from the air. An array of affordable and super-efficient filters can be found online at http://store.alencorp.com/Home-Air-Filters-s/55.htm
4. HEPA = cleanest air: Place a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air filter) air purifier in rooms where you spend a lot of time; it will reduce allergic reactions. HEPA air purifiers are the gold standard when it comes to removing tiny airborne particles – up to 99% air cleaning efficiency. Make sure the packaging has the HEPA label. Be sure to leave it running at night in your bedroom – this ensures better sleep. There are also wall mount units for main living areas up to 800 sq. ft. that are also high traffic areas - http://store.alencorp.com/Air-Purifiers-s/1.htm has a good selection of both portable and wall mounted units.
5. Check air quality in your area online: Check the AQI (Air Quality Index) online daily at the website http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.national – a great free resource from the government and other agencies. Keep the windows closed on days when the pollen count is high.
6. Manage humidity levels between 35%-50%: Humidity levels tend to rise with warmer temperatures so it is important to run your air conditioner or dehumidifier. Above 65% relative humidity, mold can grow just from the moisture content of the air. Be sure to empty the dehumidifier often to prevent mold and bacteria growth. Ridding the house of excess moisture helps prevent the spread of mold and decreases the survival rate of dust mites and cockroaches.
7. Vacuum often (not once a month!): Using a high quality and high efficiency vacuum will make a noticeable difference in your indoor air quality – especially if done at least one a week. Some of the newer models also help to filter the air while you're vacuuming by offering HEPA filtration. Don’t just vacuum the floor – also vacuum using attachments drapery and furniture. It will take a bit longer to complete this chore – but the pay-off will be noticeable.
8. Don’t forget your bedding: Millions of people are allergic to the dust mites that live in bedding. Use only washable bed linens, and wash them weekly in water that’s at least 130 degrees with laundry soap and regular bleach or color safe bleach. Wash the mattress pad and blankets every two weeks the same way. Avoid wool blankets and mold-attracting foam-rubber cushions and pillows.
9. Keep dust mites contained: Studies show allergenic wraps for bed mattresses will keep dust mites from escaping into the air and into other parts of the house from the bedroom. Encase pillows in allergen-impermeable covers also - wash the covers every week in very hot water and toss out any pillows that are old.
10. Remove carpeting: If possible, remove all carpeting – or at least in the bedroom. If this is not possible, low pile is preferred over longer shag carpeting. A wood, laminate or tile floor does not attract allergens as much and is easier to keep clean.
11. The drudgery of drapery: Curtains help keep the bedroom dark, but they are a favorite hiding place for dust mites and other allergens. Installing non-fabric window shades will keep the bedroom dark – but discourage allergens. If you must have designer drapery, choose a material that can be laundered it hot water once a month. The same is true for blinds.
12. The Three Feet Rule: Keep trees and shrubs three feet or more from the sides of your house and make sure water flows away from your house to prevent mold growth.
About Alen Corp.
Since 2005, Texas-based Alen Corp. – http://www.alencorp.com - has been a leading manufacturer of innovative and green indoor air quality products including air purifiers, several HEPA air purifiers, portable air conditioners, dehumidifiers, as well as organic, non-toxic and environmentally friendly odor sprays.