Allergen Avoidance Hints
Advice for avoiding common allergens in your home.
Dust mites live in bedding and soft surfaces, with the highest concentrations most often in the bedroom.
Traditionally, dust mite avoidance is a multi-faceted approach to reduce dust mites and their debris in the bedroom environment:
- Encase all bedding, including pillows, mattress, boxspring and duvet, preferably with high quality encasements having a rated pore size of <6 microns
- Remove all soft surfaces which can become reservoirs for dust mites - upholstered furniture, drapes and carpeting.
- Wash bedding weekly in hot water (130° F) to kill mite populations
- Stuffed animals should be placed in the freezer weekly to eliminate resident mite populations
- Reduce humidity with a dehumidifier or air conditioning to a relative humidity <50%. Dust mites rely upon collecting water from the air using secretions from a specialized gland. They cannot drink water and will die in low humidity environments
- Use a HEPA-exhausted vacuum to avoid stirring up dust mite allergen when vacuuming.
Mold requires damp surfaces for growth and high humidity.
- Install a dehumidifier. Also, carpeting or rugs should be avoided because they trap moisture and harbor colonies of mold
- Check or repair any water leaks in the home
- Ensure that kitchens, basements and bathrooms are adequately vented and cleaned to prevent the buildup of mold colonies or humidity
- Clean with 5% bleach to water solution for it is effective for killing mold colonies
Pet dander is a lightweight allergen that easily floats around indoor environments.
Avoidance of pet allergens has traditionally included the recommendation to remove the animal from the home. However, exposures can be reduced if you pay attention to where and how you allow the animal to live in the home. Some helpful measures to reduce exposures include:
- Even with the PureZone System, it is beneficial to bar the pet from the bedroom. We spend most of our time indoors in the bedroom: Keep animals out. To further prevent allergen accumulation, it is advisable to remove the biggest pet dander allergen reservoir in the home – carpeting. It can also be helpful to wash bedding in hot water to remove trapped dander.
- Keep the pet outside, when possible, to limit dander accumulations in the home
- Use a HEPA-exhausted vacuum weekly to reduce dander levels in furnishings and carpeting. (Standard vacuums tend to allow a large amount of allergen to pass back into the environment and their use should be avoided when possible.)
- Bathe the animal frequently to remove excess dander. However, use a shampoo recommended by your veterinarian that prevents the animal's skin from drying out. Dry skin can lead to excessive dander production.