Friday, May 18, 2012

Spring Cleaning with Asthma

The Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America has put out recommendations for spring cleaning your home. More than half of Americans have allergies to something in their home, such as cat & dog dander, dust mites, pollen, and mold spores. When the weather starts to get warmer, there are more allergens in the air. It is important to reduce the amount of allergens in your home to help improve air quality and reduce allergy triggers.

If your spring cleaning routine does not focus on allergen removal and only moves dust around (which send allergens airborne), or it includes products that may add pollutants to the air, it will not help in creating a healthy home. 

AAFA's Asthma & Allergy Friendly Certification Program can help you to evaluate and verify the effectiveness of allergen-reducing products...anything from cleaning supplies, air purifiers or other air cleaning devices, vacuums, toys, bedding, paints, washing machines, home improvement products and more. Products that have successfully passed their certification and are identified with a special Certification Mark on the packaging.

Some suggestions for spring cleaning:
  • House dust is one of the most common irritants. You may think, like I have, that dusting will reduce allergens. But if you use a feather duster, like I do, it simply lifts the dust off of surfaces and releases them into the air. This actually increases airborne dust particles. Instead, use moist cloths to trap and lock dust on hard and soft surfaces. 
  • Other cleaning products can add to airborne irritants, especially when they have strong scents, harsh chemicals, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). You should select cleaning products that do not contains these items. But you should also be aware of products that have "green" labels. Some of those can also contain allergens for some people, such as lemon oils, tea-tree oils or coconut extract. My son and I are both allergic to soy and corn and you would not believe how many products we have had to eliminate because of those allergens. We usually stick to Method Products, as that particular company is very good with disclosing their ingredients. 

  • Sometimes a vacuum allows more allergens to escape than what it cleans up. Use a vacuum that has a HEPA filter, with tight seams and seals in order to prevent dust particles from leaking out while vacuuming. You should also choose a style that require minimal exposure to allergens during canister emptying or bag changing. Personally, I did not see the benefit in having a vacuum with a canister. There was too much of a chance for me to be exposed to dust and other allergens when I have to dump the canister. Instead, we chose an Oreck vacuum (that is no longer available). It has done wonders in our house for allergies. Below is the best they offer right now.
519709_ORECK Forever Gold Vacuum
Top of Line Oreck
So what are you tips and tricks for Spring Cleaning for allergies?

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