Ah, spring. Birds are buzzing, flowers are sprouting, grass is growing. Ah, spring. Ah … ah … ah-choo! If you’re one of the millions of people in the United States suffering from allergies, you know how bittersweet this time of year can be. So beautiful outside — and so uncomfortable with morning-thru-night sneezes and sinus pressure. Fortunately, experts agree that a little extra care for cleaning around the house can help you keep your allergies under control.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates that as many as 50 million Americans suffer from nasal allergies — making up about 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children. And asthma, which may or may not be affected by seasonal allergies, affects more than 17 million adults and 7 million children, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI).
While taking your day inside might seem like a way to get relief, pollution and allergens can — and often do — make their way inside as well, which means asthma and allergy sufferers need to be aware of their indoor conditions to reduce symptoms. Indoor air pollution is cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as one of the top five environmental health risks, so it’s no small issue, especially for those with allergies.
Home filtering systems
To keep allergens at bay inside the home, it’s important to clean regularly and use some sort of filter system. As the ACAAI notes, there are two main types of home filter systems: “whole-house” filters that are used in HVAC systems, and HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter systems, which are used for single rooms and smaller spaces.
Stand-alone HEPA filter systems can be placed in the room where you need the most air filtering to occur, typically a bedroom or wherever you spend the most time at home, and vacuums with HEPA filters built in are recommended for removing allergens as you clean. Note that while a large number of products on the market have claims to HEPA filtering, a “true HEPA” filter must capture at least 90 percent of all particles .3 microns or large in diameter that enter it.
Whole-home allergy reduction
Experts at WebMD stress that HEPA (or other) air cleaners alone will likely not remove all allergens from a household, but when used in conjunction with other efforts, they can help reduce symptoms. In other words, air filters can be an important part of a larger allergy-reduction game plan for your house.
In addition to your air cleaner/filter, WebMD recommends: keeping pets outside (or at least out of bedrooms and off furniture); avoiding carpeting or furniture that can harbor dust and allergens; using an air conditioner in warm months; maintaining clean and properly functioning air filters and air ducts; using hot water on laundry to get rid of dust mites; and banning smoking completely from the home.
These recommended cleaning efforts address not only the airborne allergens lingering in the air, but also those which accumulate on surfaces around the house. These can often be the places you wouldn't expect! Surfaces and objects with thicker and more porous materials or absorbent fabric (carpets, bedding, heavy drapery, and so on) are especially susceptible to allergen buildup, so look out for these as you clean.
While you’re on the hunt for allergy relief this season, don’t forget to check out Hinda’s assortment of fans, HEPA filters, vacuums and air purifiers. For assistance with our awards collection or in boosting your engagement and incentive programs, reach out to our experts.