Allergy & Air on October 30, 2014 0 Comments If you have allergies, you know it’s a constant battle. Here’s your arsenal. While there’s not much you can do about the outside air, there are many tools you can use to remove as many allergens as possible from your indoor surroundings. Depending on your specific allergies and the climate you find yourself in, you can use these tools and tips to finally find relief from your allergy symptoms. What to do if Your Air is Too Dry When you live in a part of the country with a very dry climate and you suffer from allergies, your nose and airways are probably often irritated, stuffy, or scratchy. If this is the case, adding some humidity to the air can help improve your allergy symptoms. If you have particular problems breathing at night due to allergies, a warm mist humidifier can help you cough and blow your nose more effectively to break up and remove congestion. These are especially useful if you live somewhere that gets very dry during the colder months, as a warm mist humidifier can help raise the ambient temperature of a room. Some other dry air tip-offs are flaky, itchy skin and/or eczema, chapped lips, and nosebleeds. If these are on the top of your list of allergy symptoms then you need a cool mist humidifier for your whole house. There are also more compact models more suited to a smaller space, like a restroom, a home study, or even your office at work. Some humidifiers can even switch from warm mist to cool mist depending on your needs. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the ideal levels of humidity for indoor air are between 25 and 40 percent in the winter and less than 60 percent in the summer. If your humidifier does not have a built-in humidistat, then we’d recommend buying one to ensure that your indoor humidity is at optimal levels. If Your Air is Too Humid When you live in a part of the country where it’s hot and humid most of the year and you’re allergic to mold, mildew, and dust mites, you may need to remove some humidity from your air to alleviate your symptoms. Even if you think you’re just allergic to dust, it’s most likely your immune system reacting to the proteins found in dust mite feces and bodies that accumulate in your pillows, mattresses, carpeting, curtains, and upholstered furniture and other clutter around your home. These particles float around the air when anyone moves throughout the house. But, dust mites die at an average humidity level under 50 percent, according to the ACAAI. Test the humidity in your home with a humidistat, and if it’s higher than 50 percent, use a whole house dehumidifier to decrease the humidity in your home. This creates an unfavorable environment for dust mites, mold, and mildew, which in turn will help eliminate these allergens from your home. If Your Surfaces are Covered with Allergens The more pets and people you have living in your home, the more allergens there will be are on surfaces around the home that can contribute to your allergy problems. Luckily, you can kill, neutralize, and remove common allergens such as dust mites, bacteria, viruses, pollen, mold, and pet urine and saliva from all hard surfaces by using a steam mop with a hand-held attachment. This is not ordinary mopping or cleaning; the EPA classifies a steam mop as a “pesticide device,” which is any machine used to destroy not only insects, dust mites, and rodents, but also weeds, mold, mildew, bacteria, and viruses. Because steam mops do not need chemicals, be sure to choose a steam mop that heats up to at least 200 degrees or more, as that is the lowest temperature needed to kill most bacteria and viruses. If Your Air is Loaded with Allergens When you’re allergic to pet dander (dead skin) and dust mites and you have a lot of people and pets living in your home, you can get relief by removing as many allergens from the air as possible. With all these particles fluttering around your home, a whole home air purifier can help filter out the allergens everywhere in the house throughout the day. Look for air purifiers equipped with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration system which is designed to trap and remove particles such as pollen, dust, dust mites, mold spores, and pet dander at the sub-micron level Some HEPA systems can filter particles as small as 0.003 microns. For an all-out war on your allergies and allergy symptoms, combine all the weapons applicable to your allergies in the arsenal above to keep annoying allergy symptoms at bay.