If you’ve got watery eyes, an itchy nose, and can’t stop sneezing, chances are good that you’re one of the estimated 20 to 30 per cent of Canadians who suffer from seasonal allergies.
April and May are the worst months for tree allergies, as pollen counts rise. But for people who are also allergic to grass pollens, the pain doesn’t end with the beginning of summer. And just as grass allergies slow down towards the end of July, moulds that can trigger allergic reactions come into full bloom – indoors and outside. It’s enough to send anyone running for the nearest box of Kleenex.
But there are a few simple steps you can take to improve your indoor air quality and help your family breathe easy. Just follow the tips below:
Change Your Furnace Filters
The air filters in your heating and air conditioning systems work to remove dust, pollen and pet dander from your home’s air, so it’s especially important to keep them clean during allergy season.
While most people can wait two or three months between air-filter changes, allergy sufferers might need a new filter every four to six weeks – especially if you share your home with a shedding pet.
Keep Humidity Levels Stable
Most people know that mould thrives in humidity. But did you know that dry air can also allow small particles to become airborne irritants? To reduce mould and other allergens, we recommend using your air conditioning system and a humidifier / dehumidifier to maintain your home’s humidity levels at between 30% and 50%.
Clean and Repair Your Air Ducts
You’d be amazed at what might be hiding in your home’s air ducts! Dust, pet dander and hair are just some of the allergens that can accumulate over time. Leaky air ducts can also increase your exposure to air born allergens and moulds.
You can improve your indoor air quality – and reduce your utility bills – by having your air ducts cleaned, maintained, and repaired every spring and fall.
Invest in Proper Ventilation
Some homes are built with inadequate ventilation systems in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry room. A professional can tell you whether the heat and moisture from your dishwasher, showers, and washer / dryer is being properly ventilated outdoors, or whether an upgrade is needed.
Attics and crawl spaces can also provide a haven for bacteria and moulds, so you need to check those areas for proper ventilation too.
Reduce Allergens at the Source
It may sound obvious, but keeping your home clean is one of the simplest things you can do to reduce your exposure to common irritants like dust, mould, pollen, and dander. Don’t forget your couch cushions, mattresses, bedding and pillows.
Be aware of the cleaning products and any air fresheners you use. Some of those ‘fresh scents’ come from harsh chemicals that may irritate the allergy sufferers in your home. Look for natural products, or try old fashioned cleaners like baking soda and vinegar.
If you are concerned about your indoor air quality and suspect that it is aggravating your allergy symptoms, contact the experts at Oxford Plumbing and we’ll help you breathe easy this allergy season.