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How to allergy-proof your house

Published On: Mar 26 2014 02:20:15 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 08 2014 11:30:41 AM CDT
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By Mayo Clinic News Network

If you have hay fever or allergic asthma, take a few steps to reduce allergens in your home. Some steps to reduce indoor allergens are complicated and time-consuming -- but there are some easy things you can do that may help. Some steps may be more effective than others, depending on what particular allergy or allergies you have.

Bedroom

  1. Bed and bedding. Encase pillows, mattresses and box springs in dust-mite-proof covers. Wash sheets, pillowcases and blankets at least once a week in water heated to at least 130 F (54 C). Remove, wash or cover comforters. Choose bedding made of synthetic materials.
  2. Flooring. Remove carpeting and use hardwood or linoleum flooring or washable area rugs. If that isn't an option, use low-pile instead of high-pile carpeting and vacuum weekly with a vacuum cleaner that has a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Shampoo the carpet frequently.
  3. Curtains and blinds. Use washable curtains made of plain cotton or synthetic fabric. Replace horizontal blinds with washable roller-type shades.
  4. Windows. Close windows and rely on air conditioning during pollen season. Clean mold and condensation from window frames and sills. Use double-paned windows if you live in a cold climate.
  5. Furnishings. Choose easy-to-clean chairs, dressers and nightstands made of leather, wood, metal or plastic. Avoid upholstered furniture.
  6. Clutter. Remove items that collect dust, such as knickknacks, tabletop ornaments, books and magazines. Store children's toys, games and stuffed animals in plastic bins.
  7. Pets. If you can't find a new home for your dog or cat, at least keep animals out of the bedroom. Bathing pets at least twice a week may reduce the amount of allergen in the dander they shed.
  8. Air filtration. Choose an air filter that has a small-particle or HEPA filter. Try adjusting your air filter so that it directs clean air toward your head when you sleep.

Living room

  1. Flooring. Remove carpeting and use hardwood or linoleum flooring or washable area rugs. If that isn't an option, use low-pile instead of high-pile carpeting and vacuum weekly with a vacuum cleaner that has a small-particle or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Wash area rugs and floor mats weekly, and shampoo wall-to-wall carpets periodically.
  2. Furniture. Consider replacing upholstered sofas and chairs with furniture made of leather, wood, metal or plastic.
  3. Curtains and blinds. Use washable curtains made of plain cotton or synthetic fabric. Replace horizontal blinds with washable roller-type shades.
  4. Windows. Close windows and rely on air conditioning during pollen season. Clean mold and condensation from window frames and sills. Use double-paned windows if you live in a cold climate.
  5. Plants. Find a new home for potted plants or spread aquarium gravel over the dirt to help contain mold.
  6. Pets. If you can't find a new home for your dog or cat, consider keeping it outside if weather permits.
  7. Fireplaces. Avoid use of wood-burning fireplaces or stoves because smoke and gasses can worsen respiratory allergies. Most natural gas fireplaces won't cause this problem.

Kitchen

  1. Stove. Install and use a vented exhaust fan to remove cooking fumes and reduce moisture. Most stove-top hoods simply filter cooking particulates without venting outside.
  2. Sink. Wash dishes daily. Scrub the sink and faucets to remove mold and food debris.
  3. Refrigerator. Wipe up excessive moisture to avoid mold growth. Discard moldy or out-of-date food. Regularly empty and clean dripping pan and clean or replace moldy rubber seals around doors.
  4. Cabinets and counters. Clean cabinets and countertops with detergent and water. Check under-sink cabinets for plumbing leaks. Store food -- including pet food -- in sealed containers.
  5. Food waste. Place garbage in a can with an insect-proof lid and empty trash daily. Keeping the kitchen free of food crumbs will help reduce the chance you will have rodents or cockroaches.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/in-depth/allergy/art-20049365

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