Here in the Chicago area (and probably most of the country) we've been having an extended summer, more like an Indian summer. This is thanks to the crazy weather patterns, hurricanes, and who knows what else we have been facing. In early September we thought for sure that fall was on the way with high temps hovering in the upper 60s and low 70s. And then something happened. Temperatures started rising and before you knew it we had several days of 90 + temp. As a matter of fact two days in a row the heat index was 102 degrees. Now we are on the way back to more fall like temps.
For some of us the high temps were a welcome change from our usual chilly night time temps requiring jackets. But for those who suffer from fall allergies the confusing weather may have jump started their fall allergy season, or extended their summer sinus issues. Ragweed is the most common allergy trigger in the fall. This can start to happen in late August when pollen starts to release and last through October. About 75% of people allergic to spring plants also have reactions to ragweed. Others might be sensitive to mold, and dust mites which can causing sneezing. And those with asthma will have an even harder time if allergens are in the air.
Here are 5 Tips to Keep Down Allergens in Your Home
Change Your Furnace Filter
As the air moves through your house, dust moves with it. The reason that your return vents are dusty is because air in the house is pulled in, taking dust with it. Those are captured by your furnace filter. Imagine the lint catcher in your dryer. It fills up pretty quickly when you wash loads of towels. You are supposed to empty it after each load. If you don't the airflow is not good and your clothes will not get as dry. Your furnace filter works about the same way. It doesn't fill up nearly as fast, but it does catch dust and particles as it works. And, if you do not change it, airflow will be diminished and some of that dust may end up back in the air.
As previously mentioned, our Aprilaire High Efficiency Air Cleaner is a whole-house cleaning solution that removes 94% of pollen and mold, 72% of airborne bacteria and fungi, and 56% of dust particles. It does way more than a regular furnace filter. But, it only works if you remember to change it! And using an official Aprilaire filter is best. The Aprilaire Pure Fit Promise guarantees a filter that was not only made to fit flawlessly into your Aprilaire system, it guarantees purer, healthier air. Filters from other manufacturers may fit, but they will not provide the same efficiency.
Carpets are one of the biggest culprits of trapping dust, particles, dirts, and other things that can cause allergies. This is made worse by allowing people to wear shoes on the carpet. Not only will you track in dirt from outside, your carpet will look bad pretty quickly. Our whole first floor is hardwood, but the upstairs is carpeted. I do not allow shoes upstairs. And, we very rarely wear shoes downstairs. And we vacuum often. We vacuum the floors and the carpet. And don't forget to vacuum in corners where spider webs may pop up, under furniture, and definitely get the air return vents.
Even when vacuuming often you may be surprised at the amount of crude in your carpet.
Eliminate Food Crumbs
As a woman with 4 kids (and a husband!) crumbs can be a big part of our kitchen. Crumbs are a problem because they can draw bugs and rodents. Bugs and rodents are a problem because EWWW!! Seriously though, bugs and rodents leave droppings, which are very, very bad for our health. Droppings can aggravate allergies and cause a lot of problems for those with asthma.
Also, as it gets colder rodents may look to take up shelter in or around your home. You might want to consider setting some traps, plugging holes, or hiring a pest control service if you suspect the problem is bad.
Dust settles on tables, chairs, floors, and just about everything in the house. This goes double for electronics. Have you ever noticed that your television gets extra dusty? That's because the electromagnetism attracts more dust. Dusting often will keep allergy suffers from inhaling the extra dust.
Wash Your Linens Often
Thinking about what happens when we sleep can be kind of gross. LOL! But, as you sleep your skin cells shed. These particles get into your sheets and become dust. And guess what loves our “skin dust”? Dust mites! Dust mites are tiny bugs that live in your home. They are so small that you will likely never see them with your own eyes. Dust mites feed off of our dead skin cells in the air and on surfaces in our homes. Dust mite waste is a major contributor of allergies and asthma. You may have dust mite allergies if you suffer from sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose and nasal congestion. And if you have asthma, dust mites can cause serious problems. Change and wash your sheets often. It's also a good idea to vacuum your mattress and spray it with disinfectant.
What are your tips for keeping your home clean from allergens? How do you keep down fall allergies?
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Aprilaire. All opinions are my own.