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Safeguard your home against allergens

April 9, 2011
Alicia Wager, ARNP, Covenant Clinic Reinbeck

A seasonal warm-up is on the horizon and that means time to get out the mop and bucket for your annual spring cleaning. You cherish your home and it's the place where you always find comfort. However, more than half of Americans test positive for some type of allergies and your home can harbor indoor allergens like dust, pet dander and mold. To find relief from indoor allergies, you first have to find the culprits lurking in your home.

The most common indoor allergen is dust mites. They can hide in carpets, rugs, mattresses, pillows and other types of fabrics. Your bedroom is a hotspot for dust mites because they feed on skin flakes, hair, soil particles and dust. Consider putting hypoallergenic casings on your pillows and only use bedding that is washable.

Those throw pillows and decorative comforters may be eye-catching but they rarely see the inside of a wash machine. Plus, you move them around day-in and day-out, introducing allergens into the air. Think about trading them in for materials that can be washed in hot water frequently.

In the children's rooms, wash their linens and their stuffed animals in hot water at least once a week. Their furry friends may not all be machine-washable so make a new habit of buying the ones that are and consider getting rid of the old ones that they don't play with anymore.

A nice cozy carpet is a great getaway for dust mites. Vacuum your carpets weekly with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter. Better yet, if home improvement is in your future, remove the carpet and install hard-surfaced flooring. Then, pick up a few washable area rugs to reduce the allergens in that living room or play room.

If you have a pet, keep it out of the bedroom. Although you may not be allergic to the animal, your pet can bring in other allergens from outdoor and leave them on your clothes and bedding.

You do all you can for your family and your health. This spring, take it a step further and safeguard your house from allergens. Prevention is more affordable than treatment.



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