In the United States, an estimated 50 million people experience allergies every year, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Among the most common allergens are those present in your home. To effectively understand your allergies, it is important to know what common household allergens are so that you can employ the right methods to reduce them.
Common Household Allergens
Your home is an open window for allergens. It is inevitable for things like dust to occur in your home even when you clean frequently. Pollen, dust mites, pet hair, and dander and molds are among the most common allergens in a home, according to Kathryn Edwards.
When you can identify the allergens in your home, it becomes easier to control them. This is because certain methods are more effective for certain types of allergens. However, it is important to take a multifaceted approach to reduce home allergens to ensure the cleanest air possible.
You can experience symptoms of your allergies related to household allergens all throughout the year. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the common symptoms include:
• Runny nose
• Itching in the roof of your mouth, ears, nose, eyes, and throat
Replace Your Furnace Filters
The air ducts throughout your home are an ideal place for pet dander, dust and similar allergens to accumulate. When you turn on your furnace, these are then forced into the air. If you change your filter regularly, this ensures a clean filter to catch a lot of these allergens to reduce how much is forced out into your home.
Using a high-efficiency filter is best since it is designed to trap allergens. It is recommended that you insert a new filter about once every 90 days. However, you should look at the replacement instructions on the filter that you choose since the timeline for replacement may be different.
You can also have HVAC cleaning performed to physically clean out your air ducts. When your HVAC system is not properly maintained, this could increase your risk of allergic respiratory symptoms and asthma, according to a literature review published in Current Allergy and Asthma Reports.
You should vacuum all carpets, rugs and upholstered furniture at least twice a week. Use a vacuum that has a HEPA filter so that it traps the most allergens possible. They can catch airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns, making them most effective filter possible.
Once a HEPA filter traps allergens, it keeps them in place so that they are not released back into the air. This allows you to remove allergens from the surfaces that you vacuum, and it ensures cleaner air at the same time.
Change Your Bedding Frequently
Your bedding is one of the most common places for dust mites to accumulate. Start by getting allergen-proof covers for your pillows, box spring and mattress to reduce how many allergens can build up on these items.
At least once a week, you should remove your bedding and clean it in the hottest water possible. The water that you use should be at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit to effectively kill the allergens. When you are choosing bedding, stick to those that are made from synthetic materials. Feather, wool and other natural materials are far more likely to trap allergens and allow them to accumulate.
Maintain Your Pets
If you are allergic to pet dander or hair, you need to take special precautions to reduce your allergy symptoms when you have a pet in your home. If you have cats, bathing them about once a week is usually sufficient. However, dogs should be bathed twice a week to reduce the related allergen levels, according to research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
If your pets have beds, these also need to be washed when you bathe your pet. Follow the instructions on the beds and make sure to use the hottest water possible when cleaning these items.
Remove the Clutter
The more items you have in a room, the more allergens can attach to. Think about items that are prone to collecting dust and start removing these. Examples include:
• Tabletop ornaments
• Magazines and books
• Children’s toys
• Unused vases
Clean Your Windows
Your windows and window treatments are often reservoirs for allergens to accumulate. Consider switching out curtains for roller-type blinds that are easy to clean using soap and hot water. If you do have curtains, wash them at least once a month. You should also consider a material like microfiber since it is less prone to collecting dust.
If you have household allergies, you should use several methods for reducing them. Cleaning regularly and working to avoid bringing things into your home that you are allergic to can help to reduce your symptoms.