(BPT) - If you or a family member experiences allergies or asthma, you know how challenging it is to avoid triggers. When pollen is high, its effects show up immediately through irritation of your eyes, nose and throat. Plus, headaches, dizziness and fatigue may occur. The first thought may be to reduce exposure by staying indoors.
Your home should be a sanctuary, but indoor pollutants and irritants can also be triggering. Fortunately, there are proactive steps to improve your home’s indoor air quality and ensure everyone feels more comfortable. These steps can make a significant difference, especially when seasons change.
"People with allergies or asthma are often sensitive to many allergens, so tackling the problem needs a multi-pronged approach," said Dr. John McKeon, CEO of Allergy Standards Ltd. and Principal Researcher at the iAIR Institute, "Reducing in-home allergens creates a healthier indoor environment, even during high-trigger seasons."
In honor of National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, here are steps you can take to improve your indoor air quality.
1. Reduce airborne pollutants
Common sources of indoor irritants include gas stoves, cleaning supplies, paints, and wood-burning fireplaces. Some people may also have sensitivities to items like scented candles, perfumes and air freshening products. It's wise to reduce the use of products known to cause symptoms for you or a family member.
2. Let fresh air in — not allergens
When indoor air pollutants can't be fully eliminated, it's a good idea to bring in fresh air while exhausting polluted air to the outside. Simply opening windows allows for air exchange but will not filter air or block allergens. Turning on fans can help circulate the air in a space but also may throw up dust into the air. An excellent way to bring cleaner air into a home is through a ventilation system paired with high efficiency filtration.
3. Change filters frequently
A dirty HVAC air filter won't catch as many airborne particles as a clean one. A clogged filter also restricts air flow to your system, making it work harder, which adds to your energy bill and reduces the system’s life span. Improve filtration and extend the life of your machine by replacing disposable filters or cleaning reusable ones every 30-90 days in furnaces, air handlers, and air cleaners. Schedule a reminder more frequently if you have pets or suffer from asthma or allergies.
4. Add a whole-home air cleaning device
To remove harmful fine particulates, odors, allergens, mold and viruses from indoor air, consider adding a CleanEffects® Whole Home Air Cleaner from Trane, which can remove up to 99.98% of unwanted airborne pollutants as small as .3 microns.
"No matter how clean your home is, it's impossible to eliminate all potential allergens by vacuuming and dusting alone," said Jennie Bergman, senior product manager of Indoor Environmental Air Quality, Trane Residential. "The CleanEffects Whole Home Air Cleaner is eight times more effective than even the best HEPA room filters, and up to 100 times more effective than a standard one-inch filter."
The CleanEffects Whole Home Air Cleaner is also asthma & allergy friendly® certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and Allergy Standards Limited (ASL), a designation given only to products scientifically proven to reduce exposure to asthma and allergy triggers.
5. Balance humidity
It is vital to maintain a balanced humidity level between 35-60%. Humid air helps mold, dust mites and other pollutants thrive. On the other hand, eyes and nasal passages can become red and irritated when the air is too dry. Monitor humidity levels through a reliable HVAC thermostat and manage those levels with a whole-home dehumidifier and/or humidifier.
If you or a family member are having allergy or asthma symptoms, first talk to your health care provider. Then, if you have concerns about your home's indoor air quality, speak to a trusted local HVAC dealer such as a Trane Comfort Specialist, who can perform a whole-home IAQ assessment. This can help you make educated decisions based on your family's needs and air quality concerns.
Visit Trane.com to learn more ways to improve your home's indoor air quality.
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