The entire world acknowledges health problems arising due to rising pollution levels in the air outside. Environmentalists and community awareness initiatives keep us updated about how to control our carbon footprints and adopt a greener, healthier lifestyle. However, few folks realize that the air inside our homes can be equally toxic, often infested with allergens. Global warming and rising pollution levels are aggravating the growth of allergens. When combined with unhygienic conditions at home, this can snowball in to a serious health hazard. From mold to mites, allergens might seem innocuous but they affect our life in a big way. Just think of the number of workplace hours or school days lost due to asthma or allergic rhinitis. With the rising incidence of volatile chemical compounds in our indoors spaces, the prevalence of allergens is also rising, making them more immune to the usual, household cleaning methods.
In this discussion, we help you develop a more potent allergy-proofing strategy for your home. This is not about installing expensive air-purifying agents. We take the alternate approach of keep allergens away with cheap, smarter methods.
Get Acquainted with Common Allergens:
- Dust – at the core of most indoor air allergy formations
- Dust Mites – microorganisms that feed on spores and dead skin cells of people and pets
- Pollen – pollen grain-induced allergies are often seasonal
- Pet Dander – known to trigger allergies, particularly among children
- Perfumes and Dyes – chemical compounds often induce allergic reactions
While some allergens may cause temporary irritation, others can lead to chronic symptoms with an underlying risk of developing into a chronic condition. For instance, seasonal respiratory distress due to pollen in the air might induce severe coughing or infection in the lungs. There is a high risk of repeated episodes of allergic hay fever causing pneumonia, particularly among the seniors and children.
Easy Ways of Proofing Your Home against Allergens:
Here are some easy ways to make your home more resistant against allergens:
- Keep your home as dust free as possible. Approach dusting as an everyday task. The idea is not to allow dust to settle in any part of the house.
- Keep the interiors warm and moisture-free by allowing bright sunlight in, but for a short duration so as to limit chances of pollen or dust entry in the indoor space.
- Remove excess fabrics, drapery, or any other thing that can hold dust and pet dander.
- Washing beddings/sheets regularly with hot water and using electrical blankets can reduce chances of coming in contact with dust mites.
- Drying your clothes in the dryer during pollen season rather than hanging them outside can help.
- Minimizing contact with pets is often difficult, especially for children. Try to focus more on regularly bathing your pets to eliminate dander and other allergens that ride on the furry hide of animals.
- Try to minimize the use of chemically formulated air fresheners. These products contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Try to switch to fragrant essential oils.
Tips for Allergy Proofing Bedroom & Living Room
- If there is a history of mold infestation in your walls, painting is a better alternative than wallpapering it. Some paints provide resistance against mold.
- Removing humidity by switching on the air conditioner is a smart move. However, ensure that your air condition system, including air ducts, is regularly serviced.
- All types of carpeting, cushions, pillows, and rugs are a natural habitat for dust mites. Vacuum the rugs or carpets regularly and ensure they are never left moist.
- You should also avoid the use of a humidifier as that might lead to the formation of molds.
- Use dust mite proof covers on your pillows and mattresses if you have pets.
Tips for Allergy Proofing Your Kitchen
- Smoke and cockroaches are dangerous allergens with a tendency to remain hidden. The smoke slowly forms sticky debris in concealed kitchen spaces and kitchen appliances. Eventually, this becomes a breeding ground for pests and allergens.
- We recommend installing a high-performance exhaust fan. Fumes contain allergy-causing compounds like aldehydes and PAH (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons).
- Wipe the kitchen shelves as well as clean the area under the sink, as this area can easily harbor mold apart from cockroach feces and rat urine—serious indoor allergens.
Tips for Allergy Proofing the Bathroom
- Installing a ventilation fan in your bathroom and switch it on after bathing to reduce mold-friendly moisture.
- Once in a week, wipe the bathroom basin and corners.
- Vinyl shower curtains aren’t the best choice, as many of them are known to emit VOCs. Nylon curtains are easier to wash and more mold-resistant.
- Bathroom surfaces are likely to remain perennially wet. Installing easy-to-wipe tiles, tubs and sink with lustrous, more water repelling finish can help.
- Hidden spaces like the ground surface of your toothbrush holder can often nurture mold. With bits of toothpaste, oils, and scum, such unseen spots often breed allergens.
- Try not to leave magazines or books in the bathroom for longer durations. Paper in combination with moisture is the perfect breeding spot for mold spores.
- Make it a habit to cap or seal any gels, potions, perfumes, creams, cosmetics, or lotions after using them. These bathroom essentials often contain allergy-causing compounds that can leak into the indoor air. For instance, Formaldehyde is among the most common allergen arising from our toiletries.
Tips for Allergy Proofing Closets, Attics and Basements
- Remove dusty boxes or shoes that carry potential allergens and toxins into the house.
- Try to develop a biweekly regimen of exhausting and fanning the basement to ensure better circulation of air.
- Use surface sanitizers and disinfectants when cleaning the basement or attic.
- Basements are particularly prone to mold growth if there is a garden surrounding your house. Ensure basement walls are dry and any plumbing in the vicinity does not leak or cause seepage of moisture.
If there is something we have missed, please comment below!
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