My heart aches each time my son coughs from the dust and pollen in the air, which is almost all the time. Allergies are painful to live with. Asthma? Even worse. I lost my Mother to lung fibrosis.
October is Healthy Lung Month and I’d like to share a few tips on how to allergy-proof your home. I won’t guarantee that you can prevent lung disease, but you can definitely minimize the risk by doing what is in your control – reduce allergy triggers or allergens.
Lung health is critical to live healthy.
Here are some tips to control three major causes for allergies: dust, dander and pollen, mold and cockroaches
Tips to control dust, dander and pollen
Dust mites are the most common allergy triggers that set off an asthma attack. Invisible to the human eye, dust mites find their home in the dust particles all over the house. Other allergy culprits are pet and human dander – this can be skin cells too – and pollen in the air. What can we do to avoid these? Keep the place clean. Here are some easy ways to do this:
- Keep the house clean and dry
- Avoid wall to wall carpets – that lovely fluff catches and stores dust. Try and go in for hard flooring like tiles or lino. I replaced my carpets with vinyl which is easy to wipe clean. If you absolutely love rugs, use small area rugs that are easy to clean. Vacuum any carpets you can’t replace.
- Cover mattresses and pillows with allergen proof fabric covers. Avoid down pillows
- Avoid upholstered furniture – they are allergen magnets. If possible use wood/leather/any other material you can wipe clean
- Replace heavy drapes and blinds with window shades or light washable curtains.
- While cleaning wear gloves and a mask
- Leave shoes at the door
- Don’t use the space under your bed as storage
- Have pets? Try to keep them out of the bedroom. Bathe them regularly and keep them off the furniture. Yes I know – hard. But necessary.
Here is your healthy home checklist, courtesy www.maacenter.org
If your home has asbestos, get rid of it. Please contact a professional to safely remove of this dangerous material. Asbestos is usually found in older homes and building materials such as your insulation, walls, or floors. If this material is damaged, it can break into tiny particles that make it easy to inhale. The reason why it’s very dangerous is because the particles can get stuck in the lining of the lungs and later form as a cancer called mesothelioma. This type of cancer is very rare and typically develops after a person has been exposed. Did you know asbestos is still not banned?”
Tips to control mold
Next up is mold, which can cause allergy symptoms In those suffering from allergies. Avoiding mold helps you prevent asthma, respiratory congestions and other symptoms related to allergies. This means avoiding moisture. How?
- Keep the house dry.
- After a wash cycle, empty your washing machine. Leaving the clothes there attracts mold
- Make sure clothes are absolutely dry before putting them away
- Use mold-killing products to wash your bathroom tiles and shower curtains.
- Avoid too many indoor plants, particularly in your bedroom. Mold likes soil.
- Check your home for seepage and leaks and fix them. Inside and outside.
- Keep your basement well ventilated
- Fix exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom
- Have a humidifier? Turn it off if there is condensation on your windows
- If you live in a hot climate, use dehumidifiers and clean them every week
Tips to control cockroaches
It is true that even when the world ends, cockroaches will continue to survive. But we can definitely prevent them from infesting our home. Cockroach droppings are asthma triggers. It is important to know that cockroaches need water to survive and of course, a dirty kitchen counter is a bonus. They avoid clean dry places.
- Make sure your food is covered.
- Avoid leaving dirty dishes around.
- Keep your kitchen clean. This includes appliances used.
- Dispose off garbage regularly.
- If there are entry spots around windows, doors, wall cracks and floor gaps for cockroaches to come in, seal them.
And remember, wiping surfaces with a damp cloth is better than dusting!
Here is an infographic to understand the hidden dangers in your home
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