Regular cleaning can help reduce allergy and asthma triggers in your home (such as mold, pet dander, cockroaches and dust mites).
But you may want to pause before you reach for that spray bottle. The use of harsh chemicals may trigger asthma symptoms, and dust that is disturbed when cleaning can trigger both asthma and allergy symptoms.
For individuals with allergic rhinitis or asthma, make sure that you wear a high-quality dust mask and wear plastic gloves. Wear old clothes during cleaning and wash them immediately afterwards in hot water. Take a shower straight away after you have finished your cleaning chores.
Feather dusters are actually not a good idea as they only stir up dust and add more airborne allergens to your environment. Instead, use a damp cleaning cloth to wipe over dusty areas and “capture” the dust first, before it drifts up into the air.
Numerous products have received the “green” seal of approval and are easy on the environment. Many of these are derived from plant or natural sources rather than harsh chemicals. An easy alternative to purchased cleaning products are cleaners that you make yourself from ordinary household ingredients such as lemon, vinegar and baking soda.
Tips for managing allergens
To manage your indoor allergens, use these tips from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology:
• Get rid of extra clutter that collects dust. This includes stuffed animals, stacks of books, knickknacks and collectibles.
• Put mattresses, box springs and pillows in special dust mite barrier covers that are allergy-proof or “non-allergenic.”
• Wash blankets, sheets and pillowcases in 130 degree water and dry in a hot drier once a week. Humidifiers, especially free-standing ones, can be a source for mold spores.
• Avoid having carpeting in bathrooms or basements and remove any moldy carpeting.
• Use a dehumidifier and keep the humidity level in the home below 50 percent.
• Use air conditioning to clean, re-circulate and dehumidify the air in the home. Consider using in-home air filters, many of which can be used in conjunction with existing forced air cooling and heating systems.
• Keep pets out of the bedroom and other rooms where people with allergies spend a great deal of time to limit exposure to animal dander. Consider a room filter to lower animal
• Vacuum or sweep the floor after meals, and take the garbage and recyclables out frequently. People with allergies should use a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filter or a double bag.
• Keep food in containers with tight lids and wash dishes immediately after use in hot, soapy water.
• Clean surfaces that attract mold with a bleach mixture, such as the corners of showers or under the sink.
• Clean under stoves, refrigerators or toasters where loose crumbs can accumulate.
• Fix leaks that may leave surfaces wet and allow mold to grow or attract cockroaches.
• Block areas where roaches could enter the home, including crevices, wall cracks, windows, woodwork or floor gaps, cellar and outside doors and drains.
If you or your child may be suffering from allergies, please call us at any of our 3 locations listed below. We are here to help you.
About Allergy & Asthma Specialists
For more than six decades the allergists and immunologist at Allergy & Asthma Specialists have been successfully treating adults and children in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and throughout Hampton Roads, where the climate is conducive to allergies and asthma problems. Our allergy and asthma physicians are specifically trained to treat asthma as well as allergic diseases such as Asthma, Hives, Allergic Rhinitis (eyes, ears, nose), Hay Fever, Food Allergies, Eczema, Insect Stings, and more.