Although many people greet the first signs of Spring with enthusiasm, others are first alerted to the tree sap rising and plants blooming by red, itching eyes and fits of sneezing. While it may not be possible to change the outdoor environment, and few of us would want winter to last all year, it is possible to control your home environment to minimize allergens. When buying a new home, you can choose features that minimize allergic symptoms and once you have moved into a house, you can take many steps to ensure your home environment minimizes is free of things which might exacerbate allergy and asthma symptoms.
Allergy and Asthma Basics
Both allergies and asthma can be exacerbated by two different categories of substances, irritants and allergens. Some common examples of these are:
Reducing allergy and asthma symptoms requires minimizing indoor exposure to both allergens and irritants.
Outdoor Issues and Indoor Air
You may not be able to do anything about outdoor air quality, but you can reduce the way it affects indoor air. On a warm spring day, during which your car is covered with golden pollen, it might be tempting to throw open your windows to enjoy the beautiful weather. Resist this temptation. Keeping your windows closed and using air conditioning will help filter out both pollen and urban air pollution. Consider airing out your house by opening windows only at night when pollen counts tend to be lower. Newer houses, with fewer leaks and fresh caulking, admit fewer pollens and irritants than older more leaky homes, but also may have more VOCs. Taking off your shoes when you step inside will also reduce the spread of outdoor pollutants in your home.
Floors, Walls, and Window Treatments
Your choice of flooring, paint, and window treatments can have a major affect on your allergy or asthma symptoms. Wall-to-wall carpeting tends to accumulate allergens and irritants. Although regular steam cleaning may help, wood, bamboo, tile or granite floors which can be damp-mopped are a much better choice. For paint, chose low-VOC latex paints to minimize irritants. Surfaces painted with satin or glossy paints are easier to clean than those with flat paints; mold resistant paints in washrooms reduce another possible allergen. Avoided textured walls or ceilings, as they accumulate dust. For window treatments, choose either machine washable drapes that you will clean regularly or metal or wood blinds that can be dusted or wiped down with a damp cloth. Ovoid fabric shades or blinds that accumulate dust and any unnecessary fabrics such as valances.
Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is your first line of defense against indoor allergens and pollutants. Simple steps such as remembering to change your furnace filter every month and having your air ducts cleaned annually can make a significant difference in indoor air quality. Regularly inspect your HVAC system for mold and moisture to avoid spreading them through your house. During warm summer months, dehumidifiers, especially in basements, can reduce or eliminate mold.
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ZOI OUZAS Sales Representative RE/MAX Garden City Realty Inc., Brokerage 64 Main Street West, Grimsby ON L3M 1R6 Office: (905)-945-0660 Office: (905)-563-8527 CONTACT ME
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