After being cooped up in our homes all winter, it’s nice to see our daytime temperatures getting warmer. But the very wet conditions we’ve experienced this spring will most certainly lead to high pollen counts as the foliage begins to bloom. Some of us are already sneezing, which means one thing: Allergy season is here.
In order to ward off the effects of pollen season, many homeowners simply never open their windows, believing that indoor air contains far fewer contaminants and pollutants than outdoor air loaded with pollen and other airborne contaminants. Yet, according to
the Centers for Disease Control, there is a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities.
Other research indicates that people spend approximately 90% of their time indoors. Thus, for many people, the risks to health from exposure to indoor air pollution may be greater than risks from outdoor pollution.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (http://www.aafa.org) The main sources of indoor allergens are:
- Wall-to-wall carpet
- Soft furniture
- Stuffed toys
- Damp areas
- Indoor plants
- Mattresses that aren’t in allergy covers
- Pillows and bedding you can’t wash in hot water
In addition, dust mites, like the one pictured here, are a major source of respiratory irritation for people with asthma and allergies.
How would you like to share your bed with this cute little critter? A typical used mattress contains between 100,000 and 10 million mites. Microscopic in size, these organisms are not visible to the naked eye. Their diet consists of dead skin flakes from humans. And their droppings (feces) contain a protein that triggers reactions in allergy and asthma sufferers. After two years, up to 10% of a used pillow’s weight is composed of dead mites and their accumulated droppings. (Yuk!)
To reduce the effects of allergies, homeowners can take the following steps to reduce allergy symptoms:
- Take over the counter allergy medicines. If symptoms are too severe even with the medication, it’s probably time to seek treatment by an allergy specialist.
- Control humidity within the home. Ideally, humidity levels should be under 50% (Dust mites grow best at 75-80% relative humidity, and they cannot survive when the humidity is below 50%.)
- Keep surfaces in your home clean and uncluttered. Bare floors are best, but if you must have carpets, avoid deep pile carpeting. Dust with a damp mop or moistened dust cloth (never dust with a dry rag as this stirs up the allergens and makes them airborne).
- Vacuum frequently (once or twice a week is usually enough).
- Wash your bedding, uncovered pillows and stuffed toys in water 130 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter each week. Dry them in a hot dryer cycle to kill dust mites.
- Keep pets out of your bedroom. Close the doors to bedrooms when you are not home to keep pets out.
- Long-haired pets can also bring pollen inside in high pollen seasons like spring and fall. But if you have allergy symptoms, avoid grooming your pets. If you must groom them, wear a mask.
Your HVAC Specialist is a Great Resource
The qualified HVAC technicians at VENT Heating and Cooling are a great resource for recommendations on improving the indoor air quality of your home. We offer several services that offer additional protections for allergy sufferers:
Whole House Duct Cleaning: VENT uses specialized equipment to clean and sanitize all air ducts in your home. Our process removes contaminants within the ducts including dust, mold, bacteria, human and pet hair, dander, construction debris, carpet fibers and more. Mention this blog post and receive $50 off this service (Expires 8/31/2019).
Upgrade your home with Central Air Conditioning: Central air conditioning controls the humidity level in your home during the hot and humid months of summer and reduces the need to open windows that allows air pollutants and pollen into your home. Mention this blog post and receive $250 off a new central air conditioning system for your home (Expires 8/31/2019).
Install the Air Scrubber Plus™ Solution in your existing HVAC System: This is one of the most advanced, state-of-the-art Indoor Air Quality solutions available. Installed by factory trained HVAC specialists from VENT. Watch this video to see how the Air Scrubber Plus™ works.
Breathe easy this season and stay healthier! Contact VENT Heating and Cooling for a no-cost, no obligation consultation on indoor air quality solutions. Mention this blog post to receive 20% off the purchase of the Air Scrubber Plus™ (Expires 8/31/2019).
VENT Heating and Cooling LLC is based in Fairview Park, serving the greater Cleveland metropolitan area and northeast Ohio. Visit us as: www.venthvac.com or call 440-785-2629.
Have a question or a suggestion for a future topic for this blog? Send your suggestion to [email protected] and we’ll try to address it in an upcoming blog post.