Comfort. Security. A place of refuge. Favorite family memories. Dorothy was spot on when she said: “There’s no place like home.” But what happens when you literally feel ill at home? One obvious reason for this is the surprising number of hidden home allergens. Chances are, if you’ve been experiencing some discomfort in your own home, you could suffer from allergies or asthma.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 1 in 5 people suffer from allergies or asthma, for which there is no obvious substance causing the distress. Common allergy symptoms include wheezing, coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny nose, and a scratchy throat. In more severe cases, home allergens may cause rashes, low blood pressure, and breathing problems.
The following home allergen sources could be causing you distress.
When it comes to cleaning supplies, it’s easy to pick up the first one you see, never giving a second thought to its ingredients. However, if your allergies worsen shortly after cleaning, you could be allergic to the chemicals in today’s cleaning products. Cross anything with noxious odors, such as ammonia, and products that produce particulates including air fresheners and ozone generators off your shopping list.
Carpeting and Upholstery
Dust mites, pet dander and pollen love carpets, as well as area rugs and upholstered furniture. Our advice? Vacuum weekly, using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to trap unhealthy particles, keeping them out of the air you and your loved ones breathe. Likewise, it’s best to have carpets and upholstered furniture professionally steamed cleaned every 6 to 12 months, depending on the level of traffic they get.
Life carpets, area rugs and upholstered furniture, dust mites and pet dander love bedding. Recommended standard practice is to wash your blankets, sheets, and pillowcases weekly in water that is at least 130˚F. Using organic, hypoallergenic bedding can minimize discomfort as well. You may also want to try using an air purifier that uses a HEPA filter to keep the air in your bedroom cleaner.
It’s a fact, poor indoor air quality can aggravate asthma and other respiratory illnesses, making an allergy sufferers symptoms worse. Standard recommended practice is to replace your home’s heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) filters once per month, as well as have your air ducts cleaned once every five years, in order to keep the air circulating through your home as clean and as fresh as possible.