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For Seasonal Allergy Relief, Take Steps to Ensure Clean Air
(ARA) - This time of year, the flowers and trees are in bloom and a sweet fragrance wafts through the windows. But there's more than fragrance in the air -- the average home has 72 trillion allergens floating around inside. Every day, you may be breathing air laden with pollen, mold spores, bacteria, dust mites, smoke and pet dander, triggering allergies and other respiratory ailments. Your children also may be affected. Because they breathe faster than adults, children inhale 50 percent more air per pound of body weight than adults, making them particularly sensitive to poor indoor air quality.
Over 28 million Americans suffer from hay fever and other allergies. This results in 14.1 million physician office visits each year and a cost of $16 billion annually to the U.S. health care system, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Allergies also can lead to other chronic conditions such as asthma, which affects more than 20 million adults and children. Asthma alone accounts for 14.5 million missed work days and 14 million missed school days every year.
"People are waking up to the sad state of their indoor air," says John Spengler, Ph.D., professor of environmental health and human habitation at Harvard's School of Public Health. "But at the same time, they are finding a dearth of viable indoor air cleaning solutions."
If you or members of your family are experiencing symptoms such as sneezing, headaches, stuffy noses, tickly throats, nagging coughs, wheezing, itchy eyes and more, it may be time to take steps to improve your indoor air.
Five Steps to Improve the Air in Your Home
* Combat pollen and mold. Allergic rhinitis, the seasonal allergy known as hay fever, is an allergic reaction to pollen from trees and grasses. To prevent entry of pollen, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America advises that windows and doors be kept closed and that air conditioning be used in warm weather. Mold spores also cause hay fever symptoms and can reach the lungs to cause asthma. To discourage mold growth, replace missing grout, and repair and replace leaky faucets and pipes immediately. Use a mold-proof shower curtain, and wipe shower stalls and tub toys dry after use.
* Minimize dust mites. Another allergen that's in every home, no matter how clean, is dust. In fact, the average home generates about 40 pounds of dust per year per 1,500 square feet of space. Just one ounce of dust can carry up to 40,000 dust mites. These dust mites can lurk in almost any soft material, generating irritating waste particles that can become airborne. To minimize dust mites, wash bedding in hot water (130 degrees F) and use allergen-proof bed coverings. Use washable throws and curtains. Dust mites can also linger on stuffed animals and other soft toys, so follow manufacturers' instructions for laundering them.
* Install a whole house air cleaner. Professors from the Harvard School of Public Health recognize whole-house systems, such as TRANE CleanEffects, as an effective way to remove triggers for allergies and asthma -- including pollen, bacteria, mold spores, dust, smoke and pet dander. It's the industry's most effective whole-house air filtration system, capable of removing up to 99.98 percent of particles from the filtered air all the way down to .1 microns, the size that eludes most air cleaners.
Allergy sufferers like Jeff Collins and his family of Phoenix, Ariz., have noticed that their indoor air quality is better since installing a TRANE CleanEffects whole-house air filtration system. "We've noticed that our allergies are much better since installing TRANE CleanEffects. We also have close friends who would visit us often and have allergic reactions to our cat, but they have not had reactions since the installation," Collins says.
* Control animal dander. With a U.S. pet population of 100 million, we love our animal friends. However, allergies to pets with fur are common, especially among people who have other allergies or asthma. Up to 30 percent of people with other allergies have allergic reactions to cats and dogs. These pets shed dander that can stay suspended in the air for long periods of time before clinging to surfaces and clothing. If you can't live without a pet in your house, you may need to keep your pet off your furniture and replace wall-to-wall carpeting with bare floors, or at minimum, a low-pile carpet. Also, bar pets from the bedroom, where most people spend one-third to one-half of their time. Keep the bedroom door closed and clean aggressively. Throughout your home, scrub walls and woodwork regularly, and keep surfaces clean and uncluttered.
* Control humidity. In warm months, humidity can be an especially big problem in homes. Controlling the moisture content in the air will not only discourage mold growth but will also minimize dust mites. A central system that features a variable-speed blower motor and a thermostat with a built-in humidity sensor kills dust mites by keeping the air at a controlled humidity level. To determine the best humidity setting for your home, consult a heating and air conditioning specialist, such as a TRANE Home Comfort Expert. For more information or to find a dealer near you, visit www.trane.com.
Courtesy of ARAcontent
Categories: Children's Health, Health & Wellness, Newsletter, Women's Health,
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