Guarding our homes against allergens that negatively affect breathing is the first step to having a healthy breathing space. (Courtesy photo)
Guarding our homes against allergens that negatively affect breathing is the first step to having a healthy breathing space. (Courtesy photo)

Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors. Indoor allergens and irritants play a significant role in triggering breathing troubles, including asthma attacks, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Triggers are things that can cause symptoms, an episode or attack or make breathing worse and often are overlooked as sources of distress within our homes or in our neighborhoods. For instance, stuffed animals – carried about by small children are rarely washed or disinfected. Here are few other tips to ridding your home of respiratory triggers to breathing ailments.

Use fragrance-free detergents – Laundry detergents smell so nice, so we wouldn’t see them as a suspect. But we are all clearly wrong with this one. Fragranced products are made of chemicals, so they can contribute to the issue of indoor air pollution. To deal with this, replace the traditional ones with fragrance-free laundry detergents.

Replace the filters – The filters on the air conditioning and heating system play a vital role in keeping your air clean. They trap the particles from the air, such as dust mites and pet dander. If you haven’t checked on the filters, hurry up and do it. You are recommended to do at least 4 checks per year to make sure that the filters are in good shape. If there is lots of accumulated debris, it means that the filters need to be replaced. This is a simple and affordable project that you can do by yourself. Click here to find out more about the best changing practices.

Keep the air dry – A high percentage of humidity in the air contributes to the growth of mold. The mold can release spores in the air, which can trigger asthma and allergies. Make sure that the bathroom is well ventilated. Turn on the exhaust fan after showering or open the window. Another way to keep the humidity away is to check for any leaks in your home. To be on the safe side, check the roof and plumbing often.

Keep the dust mites away – Dust mites are a common reason for allergies. They also thrive in a humid environment, so get a dehumidifier to keep the humidity levels low. Remove the carpets where they aren’t necessary, and make sure that you frequently clean every piece of upholstery in your home. Wash the bedding once a week in hot water to get rid of the dust mites.

Ventilate Daily – Bringing in cleaner outdoor air by opening up windows is the easiest way to dilute the contaminated air in your home. However, you’ll want to keep the windows closed on high-pollen-count days or when it’s very humid outside, which can raise the risk of mold.

When cooking and bathing, make sure to ventilate the kitchen with an exhaust fan or nearby open window during cooking, and for at least 15 minutes after you are done preparing the meal.

Vacuum Often and Slowly – Dust is a leading source of air pollution because it absorbs toxic gases, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and radon. It can also contain pollen, animal dander, mold spores and dust mites, which are known allergens. Vacuuming slowly and methodically captures the most dust, whereas vacuuming quickly just raises the dust, which defeats the purpose. Vacuum slowly at least twice a week, and step outside to empty the vacuum cleaner bag or canister and avoid inhaling any dust as you do so.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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