13 Ways To Get Rid of Allergies With Indoor Air Quality

Control Air Quality Allergies
By AcuRite Team
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13 Ways To Get Rid of Allergies With Indoor Air Quality

Even though you can’t always see them, the air in your home is full of allergens. We, humans, are pretty resilient, but prolonged exposure to indoor air pollution and high concentrations of allergens in the air will eventually get the best of us. Fortunately, if you take common-sense steps, including properly monitoring and maintaining humidity and temperature, you can help reduce allergy symptoms and improve your indoor air quality (IAQ).

Indoor Air Quality and Allergens in the Air

It may not be well-known, but even before the pandemic, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that we spend 90% of our time indoors. Since many of us have transitioned to work-from-home roles in our career, not only is that percentage likely higher, but it is almost entirely within the walls of our own homes! This means our cleaning schedule and products, personal and family hygiene, pets, and even the frequency of washing our bedding and towels affects our IAQ. In addition to seasonal allergies, our general well-being and family health are directly correlated to the many different daily activities within our home and the resulting allergens in the air that build up over time.

Here are some of the top culprits of poor IAQ and allergies: 

Mold

Mold spores are practically everywhere. They typically aren’t bothersome in dry environments. But when moist conditions present themselves, mold can grow, reproduce and really cause allergy symptoms and reduce IAQ. According to the EPA, Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold.

In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Needless to say, mold is a form of indoor air pollution and not something you want your family inhaling.

Dust Mites

These microscopic insects thrive in humid, warm environments. They also prefer to live within the carpet, upholstered furniture, and bedding. As gross as this sounds, digestive enzymes in their waste are a primary cause our allergic reactions.

Cockroaches 

In a lot of homes, our dust particles contain cockroach saliva, droppings, and even body parts, causing allergic reactions for many (Another very gross, but unfortunately, true bit of information).

Pollen Count 

This common cause of seasonal allergies can originate from weeds, flowers, grasses, and even trees. While spring allergies are the most common, most allergy-sufferers are affected year-round with fall allergies and winter allergies as well.

Pets 

Fur, feathers, saliva, urine, droppings, and dander (skin flakes), can all potentially cause problems. Speaking of skin flakes, we people leave a lot of those lying around too...and skin flakes are a favorite snack of dust mites (Gross!).

Dry Air

 While high humidity is something to be avoided, a low humidity level can cause its share of problems too. Primarily, it can dry out your nasal passages, making you more susceptible to illness and allergies. Other issues can include cracked, itchy skin, chapped lips, a sore throat, and nose bleeds.

How To Get Rid of Allergies with Proper IAQ

The following is an overview of actions you can take to maintain comfortable and healthy indoor air quality conditions, as well as our recommended solution for easy home environmental monitoring. This can help you identify the allergen sources and problems within your home, to ensure your family can breathe easier by finding natural allergy relief.

1. Monitor and Maintain Safe Humidity Levels

The EPA recommends indoor humidity stays between 30% and 50% to help prevent mold. Dust mites often die when humidity dips below 50%.

2. Use Dehumidifiers and Air Conditioners to Combat High Humidity

When household humidity is above 50%, dehumidifiers and/or air conditioning are effective tools for reducing conditions friendly to dust mites and mold. These are particularly useful in summer and/or in southern and southeast regions of the US.

3. Ventilate Areas Where High Humidity Occurs

Daily activities like laundry, showers, and cooking can all lead to mold. Keep air moving by opening bathroom doors, opening windows if possible, running exhaust fans, and etc. 

4. Use Humidifiers to Increase Low Humidity

When household humidity is below 30%, humidifiers are effective tools for combating dry air. These are particularly useful in winter and southwest regions of the USA.

5. Make Sure Your Home is Well Ventilated

When the temperature and humidity outdoors are conducive to proper indoor conditions, opening windows to bring in fresh outdoor air can reduce the concentration of indoor pollutants.

6. Take Steps to Minimize Potential for Seepage, Leaks, and Flooding

These can include simple solutions like keeping gutters clean and maintained, and more extensive projects like ensuring the grade of your yard sufficiently directs water away from your home’s foundation, having your basement professionally sealed, repairing an old roof, replacing old appliances, resealing your shower, and etc.

7. Inspect Inside Your Home to Identify Potential Problem Areas

Check for condensation around windows, and measure humidity levels in attics, basements, crawlspaces, and storage rooms. If you find problem areas, take corrective action.

8. Clean Up Water Quickly

Since mold grows when water is present, the moment you find moisture, start cleaning it up. Mold growth typically requires 24-48 hours in a moist environment. So, the sooner you catch it, the better!

9. Identify and Mitigate Potential Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

Since air is constantly circulating through our homes, our furnace and air condition filters play a huge role in our IAQ. It’s recommended to regularly check and replace central heat and air filters, inspect stove vents, and etc.

10. Keep Your Home Clean

Many recommend using a vacuum with a HEPA filter, as well as mopping hard floors, and placing floor mats by doors to minimize dirt that enters the house. This will, in turn, help minimize allergy-causing particles in the air.

11. Regularly Wash Bedding

This is a prime place where dust mites can flourish. Hot water and a hot dryer are generally recommended for best results.

12. Don’t Leave Wet Clothes Laying Around

Put your clothes in the dryer as soon as possible after washing them. The same is true if you’re caught in a rain storm and walk in the door drenched: try to dry any wet clothing as soon as possible.

13. Grow Indoor Plants

Plants serve as natural air purifiers and can help you breathe easier. Houseplants are great for improving home décor and a natural allergy relief!

AcuRite Tips for Monitoring Indoor Air Quality

With very little cost and effort, you can identify allergen sources and work to minimize your indoor air pollution by monitoring multiple areas throughout your home and keeping an eye on the conditions as they change seasonally.

Monitor Indoor Temperature and Indoor Humidity

Measure and monitor indoor conditions with AcuRite Home Comfort Sensors that you can place in various locations throughout your home. In addition to general indoor comfort, these home comfort monitors help you identify the ideal temperature and ideal humidity to reduce home allergens in the air. Optimal locations for these sensors are generally where you and your family spends the most time: bedrooms, living rooms, and the kitchen. Additionally, common problem-areas usually include the attic, basement, or crawlspace. These low-cost sensors make it an easy solution, while this multi-room display with three sensors is very convenient for hard-to-reach locations throughout your home.

Monitor Water Leaks

Position a Water Leak Detector in areas of potential leaks and flooding that may be out of sight in an utility closet, crawlspace, or in the garage. The handy wireless pager included with the leak sensor can be placed in a centralized location, so you can be notified as soon as water is detected within your home. Common placement include:

  • Beneath appliances: Set up a leak detector beneath dishwashers, washing machines, water heaters, and other appliances that are susceptible to leaks
  • Beneath sinks and showers: Gain early warning of leaky pipes, or when to replace caulking
  • Inside sump pump wells: Placing a leak detector in a sump pump well can give you early warning of impending flood conditions
  • On basement, crawlspace, or attic floors: Get instant notification if your home is taking in water during a storm

Multi-Zone Monitoring

Monitoring multiple locations at once can also be simplified with the AcuRite Home Display and Room Sensors to allow you to view conditions measured by multiple room sensors or indoor/outdoor temperature and humidity sensors. Programmable alarms are available on the display to customize notifications on conditions that matter to you. For example, program alarms on the display for early warning of conditions that are conducive to mold growth:

  • High Humidity Alert: Take corrective action if relative humidity (RH) levels exceed the EPA-recommend maximum of 50% RH.
  • Low Humidity Alert: Take corrective action if relative humidity levels dip below the EPA-recommend minimum of 30% RH.
Beneath Sinks

Water Heater
  • Monitor Environmental Conditions:Place AcuRite Room Monitors around the home (ex. bedrooms, living areas, attics, basements, etc.) to measure humidity and temperature conditions.
  • Monitor for Water Leaks: Position one or more Water Leak Detectors in areas of potential leaks and flooding.
    • Beneath appliances: Set up a leak detector beneath dishwashers, washing machines, water heaters, and other appliances that are susceptible to leaks
    • Beneath sinks and showers: Gain early warning of leaky pipes, or when to replace caulking
    • Inside sump pump wells: Hanging a leak detector in a sump pump well can give you early warning of impending flood conditions
    • On basement or attic floors: Get instant notification if your home is taking in water during a storm
  • Use a Home Environment Display for convenient viewing of conditions measured by multiple Monitor and Sensors in and around your home. Set alarms on the display for early warning of conditions that are conducive to mold growth:
    • High Humidity Alert: Take corrective action if relative humidity levels exceed the EPA-recommend maximum of 60% RH.
    • Low Humidity Alert: Take corrective action if relative humidity levels dip below the EPA-recommend minimum of 30% RH.
    • Water Present Alert: Take corrective action to fix leak and remove water before mold has chance to grow.

Solve Home Allergens

How do you get rid of allergens in your home? Have you solved home allergen problems and found natural allergy relief? From seasonal allergies to indoor mold growth, share and discuss ways you’ve successfully improved your IAQ.

Further Reading

The following list includes great resources for more information on this topic:

April 25, 2022
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