In some areas of the country, such as Florida, allergy season is ten months out of the year. That's a long time to be in misery if you're a sufferer and all too often, being indoors is just as bad as being outside. However, there are ways to reduce or even eliminate indoor issues, and some are entirely overlooked.
Don't Wear Shoes Inside the House
If you're immune-compromised or have allergy issues, it's a good idea to take your shoes off at the door. Footwear picks up mold and pollen, and if you have any rugs or carpet, it can get very challenging to remove. In mass testing of shoes that are at least a month old or more, 93% were positive for fecal matter, e-coli, and more that you probably don't want inside your home.
Regular air and furnace filters are designed to protect the equipment, not your breathing. Use a filter with a high MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating. Having a HEPA air filter unit and a HEPA filter in your vacuum is also beneficial. Both are relatively inexpensive these days, as are the replacement filters, which need to be changed out regularly.
Clean Your Air Ducts!
This one is a biggie. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) forced air systems can be a collection site for contaminants that aggravate your allergies and asthma. Consider this: What happens when you blow the dust off an object? Often the airborne dust blows back at you. For those with allergies, what happens next is a sneezing fit. Dust mites, pollen, pet dander, smog, mold, mildew, bacteria, viruses and VOC's (harmful gases are given off by everyday household items) are what's being circulated and recirculated by your HVAC system.
This is an often-overlooked culprit of allergy and asthma attacks. "Routine cleaning of air ducts has always been a commonsense move," says Allergist Dr. Anthony Montanaro. "If you're sensitive to what's found in dust and dander, it's to your best advantage to minimize exposure to it." Montanaro, a professor of medicine and chief of the allergy and clinical immunology division at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, often talks with patients about their air and heating systems as he investigates the possible environmental triggers of their allergies.
"If they have forced air, that's part of the conversation," he says.
Additionally, when your HVAC blows air through ducts coated in dust, you end up with airborne dust in your home. It makes sense that cleaning dust, allergens, and other contaminants from ducts could vastly improve air quality and reduce allergy symptoms.
When you invest in HVAC maintenance, your equipment is cleaned and tuned up, which results in cleaner air, better performance, and more consistent comfort. Regular maintenance also helps lower your energy bills and prolong the life span of your equipment. Click here for a free quote to have your air ducts cleaned by Gator Clean.