Today, anything from plants and pollen to pet dander and molds can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms, and for anyone who suffers from them, you know just how awful and even unhealthy allergies and asthma flare-ups can be.And it’s not just being outside that’s the culprit: the EPA stated that indoor air levels of many pollutants may be 2-5 time and occasionally, more than 100 times higher than outdoor level—which can be bad news for those who tend to spend most of their time inside.
Keeping a clean home is the best way to reduce allergy and asthma triggers — but what happens when cleaning actually triggers attacks? We’ve got a few cleaning tips for homes with allergy and asthma suffers that can help you get your clean home and reduce the amount of allergens that can build up to unhealthy levels.
Clean in a Well-Ventilated Space
When you clean, you’re removing allergens… but the process can also kick up other triggers that can lead to asthma and allergy attacks. In order to prevent this, make sure the space you’re cleaning is well-ventilated. This can be as simple as opening a door and window, or turning on your overhead fans. If an area can’t be ventilated, wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth can help protect you. Either of these things will allow the allergens getting kicked up to have a less harmful effect on your immune system, your body and you!
When life gets busy and chaotic, it can be easy to find yourself trapped in the midst of clutter everywhere.(Parents of small children will understand!) Not only does this look displeasing and messy, it can also be worsening your allergy/asthma symptoms. When things get piled up, it creates more places for dust, pollen, bugs and dander to settle. This causes two problems: one, there’s more unwanted allergens in your home and two, when you finally do clean that clutter, the triggers can irritate your lungs and immune system.
In order to prevent this from happening, keep your home decluttered as best as you can. This won’t get rid of your allergy and asthma symptoms, but it will help prevent the severity of them when you do clean!
Your carpet is one place where dust, dander, dirt and more hide easilyg. These allergens get trapped in carpet and rug fibers, and every time someone walks on it, those allergens are kicked up into the air you’re breathing.
Vacuuming once or twice a week will help to remove some of those particles more often, so that when the carpet is walked on (as it should be!) there’s less to be shuffled into the air. However, vacuuming can also add some of those particles back into the air if it’s not picking them up and removing them as it should. This is where you want to make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air and these filters are a mechanical air filter that trap harmful particles. If you don’t have a HEPA filter vacuum, then you could wear a mask or ventilate the room so that your symptoms won’t be triggered while cleaning. But no matter what vacuum you have, vacuuming is a big part of keeping a clean, asthma- and allergy-friendly home!
Use a Damp Cloth or Mop
Nowadays, it seems like there are so many products and tools everyone has in order to clean their whole house. While certain items are necessary for a particular task, others could be done with a variety of tools. When cleaning, use a damp cloth or a mop instead of just a dry rag, broom or duster. Why? Because the damp cloth can trap allergens rather than knocking them down into your home. Even for dusting, using a damp cloth (or at least a spray so that the rag is somewhat wet) will help remove those pesky particles rather than putting them back into your home—which is exactly where you don’t want them!
Find the Source in Your Home
If there’s something in particular in your house that’s exacerbating your allergies or asthma, find it and take care of it. If it’s your cleaning products, try a cleaning product with no scent or perfume. Keep trying different products until you find the right combination that works for you and your home, or even make your own chemical-free version.
If dust mites are an issue, you can buy dust mite covers to use on pillows, your bed and other furniture. Also, be sure to wash your sheets often—aim for once a week—with hot water to get rid of allergens.
Another issue that could be causing triggers is bringing in particles from the outside. Try to take your shoes off immediately upon entering your home so you don’t track in extra dirt, allergens and other unseemly debris. Also, think about cleaning your outdoor entryways so that there’s less to be tracked in. Dealing with the particular source of your problems can lead to a much healthier, happier home!