With the cold and snow, most of us are spending significant time indoors. Indoor air can be just as polluted as outdoor air. Individuals with asthma or allergies are particularly susceptible to certain triggers, although all people can be affected to some degree. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends the following tips to manage asthma and allergies inside this winter:
To help improve allergies and asthma in the winter:
- Keep surfaces clean and uncluttered
- Bare floors and walls are best, especially in bedrooms.
- Cover pillows, mattresses and box springs with allergen impermeable or plastic covers.
- Wash bedding, uncovered pillows and stuffed animals weekly in hot water (130 degree Fahrenheit). This kills the mites.
- Vacuum once or twice a week. If possible use a vacuum with a HEPA filter or special filter double bags.
- Wear a dust mask and a damp or treated cloth when housecleaning if you have allergies.
- If possible leave your home for several hours after cleaning.
For pet allergies:
- Do not allow your pet in the bedroom and keep the door closed. Cover the vents with a dense material.
- Bare floors are best or at least low pile carpet since animal allergens stick to furniture and carpets.
- Choose a pet without feathers or fur.
For mold spores:
- Dehumidifiers will help reduce both mold and dust mites.
- Reduce moisture around the bathroom and kitchen.
- Limit the number of house plants.
- Fix leaks and other causes of damp areas.
- Clean moldy surfaces.
- Get rid of moldy firewood and leaf piles from your yard.
- Keeping doors and windows closed will prevent outdoor mold allergens from entering your home.
More resources on asthma and allergies are available at http://epa.gov/iaq/ and www.aafa.org.