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Allergen Control in Your Home

By AAFA

The doctor told me that I should implement an allergen reduction and environmental control strategy in my home…what should I do next?

 

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Once an allergy has been identified, your healthcare provider may recommend medications or therapies to control symptoms. The next step is environmental control to decrease or eliminate exposure to allergens.

 

Americans spend an estimated $10 billion a year on non-medicinal, consumer products marketed for people with asthma and allergies such as vacuum cleaners, air cleaners, bedding, toys, flooring and more. Evidence shows that allergy and asthma symptoms may improve over time if recommended environmental control changes are made however these products tout a wide variety of features and benefits including suitability for those with asthma and allergies, the ability to prevent allergen accumulation, and in some extreme cases, promising improved health for consumers without providing scientific proof or validation for such claims. It is important to carefully examine any product that you purchase in order to reduce the allergens in your home or reduce your exposure to them.

 

"Where Do I Start?" and "What is the Most Important?"


These are two of the most common questions that are posed to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Founded in 1953, AAFA is the oldest not-for-profit asthma and allergy patient organization in the world and is the leading patient organization for people with asthma and allergies.

 

Allergens in the home hide in unexpected places. Nooks and crannies, window sills, children's toys, a family pet, bedding, carpets, curtains and more, can all be sources for asthma and allergy triggers called “allergens.”

 

Dust mites, mold spores, cat and dog dander, cockroaches, rodents and even pollen brought in from the outdoors can trigger asthma and allergy symptoms and interfere with the most routine tasks.

 

It is first important to realize that it is impossible to completely remove household allergens from the home, but with the proper measures, allergens can be reduced to manageable levels more suitable for those with asthma and allergic sensitivities. That’s why “allergen control, reduction and avoidance” is a cornerstone of asthma and allergy care. 

 

Finding the right household products is a great way to begin managing and reducing your exposure to allergens. By reviewing your home on a room-by-room basis, you can identify the places where allergens tend to accumulate.

 

Many suggested changes are for the entire home, but the bedroom is the most important because it is where people usually spend a third to half of their time.

 

Tips for Reducing Hidden Home Allergens

 

•   Use bedding items that are proven to be an effective allergen barrier including pillows, mattress/pillow encasings, comforters and mattress pads. Routinely wash the items in water hotter than 130 degrees Fahrenheit according to the custom care instructions included with each of the products. (It is critical that water be hotter than 130 degrees Fahrenheit to kill and remove dust mites and their eggs, and this temperature is often higher than the setting of a standard water heater). Some washing machines have been scientifically proven to remove over 95% of household allergens from common household items.
•   The use of some vacuums may actually make symptoms for some people worse because they leak dust back into the room and increase the levels of airborne allergens. Some vacuums have the proven capability to effectively remove various allergens and trap them within the vacuum cleaner system without leakage through the filter, seals, bag or canister/frame during use and waste removal from the machine.
•   Non-allergenic toys are an ideal choice for those concerned with asthma and allergies. These toys do not contain any fabric or fillings known to aggravate asthma or related allergies. Additionally, their quality and workmanship allow for the effective allergen reduction process of freezing, washing and drying, while maintaining all government safety requirements. Testing of durability and quality has shown that the right toys will withstand the custom care code included with each one.
•   Every type of flooring is a potential breeding ground for allergens, whether it’s carpet, tile, or hardwood. Choose floor coverings that have a low capacity for allergen retention; the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning procedures must be effective at removing accumulated allergen from the floor covering, and not contribute to a significant increase in airborne allergen levels that may result in redistribution of rather than overall reduction of allergens.

For more information, visit www.aafa.org.

 

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Allergen Control in Your Home:  Created on May 14th, 2012.  Last Modified on November 16th, 2012

 

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About AAFA

AAFA

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is a leading national nonprofit organization fighting asthma and allergic diseases. AAFA provides free information, conducts educational programs, fights for patients’ rights, and funds research to find better treatments and cures. Visit www.aafa.org.

 

 

Information provided by The Healthy House Institute is designed to support, not to replace the relationship between patient/physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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