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NEED A RELIEF FOR SUMMER ALLERGIES? GET RID OF YOUR INDOOR AIR POLLUTANTS!

While opening your windows during the mild-weathered spring is a nice change to the icy, freezing winter that Memphis endured, the hot summer air that will soon be upon us can cause an increase of indoor air pollutants that can be damaging to your health and wellbeing.

In order to keep air conditioning inside your home, tight seals on doors and windows are important. While this keeps your house cool and comfortable, this also locks pollutants in your home, such as hair spray and nail polish, pesticides for pesky, warm-weathered bugs, cleaning products, air fresheners and dust and pet dander that settle into your fabrics, rugs and curtains throughout your home. Consistently breathing in these pollutants can lead to a variety of respiratory illnesses and negative impacts on your well being because these pollutants have no escape. You are stuck breathing these pollutants in, which can lead to more serious, long-term illnesses that you want to avoid. Not to mention that conditions such as seasonal allergies and asthma will flare up when these irritants are present.

Opening your windows can relieve your home of some pollutants, but also gives pollen and other allergens easy access into your home. These particles then settle into your furniture and carpet as well, increasing the amount of pollutants that can cause illness.  

So, you may be asking, what can I do to reduce indoor pollutants now that warmer weather is here? Below are a list of tips and tricks to keep fresh air in and polluted air out:

  • First, reduce the amount of pollutants you are using in your home; this goes for any time of the year. Reduction will limit the number of chemical pollutants that are resting on your furniture or in dust that could potentially be stirred up and cause health issues, especially when dust is removed during spring cleaning.
  • Increase the amount of ventilation in your home when using dangerous substances, like paints and pesticides. Don’t use fans when your windows are open however, because it will pull more pollen into your home’s air.
  • Don’t smoke in the house. Smoking is detrimental to your health, regardless of the time of year, but secondhand smoke contains up to 4,000 chemicals, which cling to carpets, furniture, walls and even inside your ventilation and HVAC system.  This pollution can flood into your house when you turn your air on for the first time in warmer weather, and this overwhelming influx of pollutants can cause immediate health issues.
  • Speaking of your air conditioning and HVAC system, pollutants from the winter and spring months gather and sit inside the filters and are released when you turn these units back on in summer months. Change these filters regularly to keep from blasting chemicals and harmful dust and debris throughout your house.
  • Turning on the air conditioner can also decrease some of the pollutants that exist in your home. Many pollutants are water-soluble, and the air conditioner removes water from the air. In turn, this removes pollutants from the atmosphere, leading to cleaner, healthier air inside your house.
  • Control the amount of humidity in your home. This will keep dust mites, mold and mildew from forming, which can cause a multitude of other health and environmental problems.
  • Dust and vacuum frequently. This removes the places that pollutants can settle, resulting in less harmful chemicals floating around in the air. But remember, don’t use cleaners to get rid of dust and dirt. Instead, use a damp cloth or dust mop. Use this on furniture, curtains and rugs at least once a week.
  • Keeping your pets confined can eliminate pet hair that can hold pollutants and cause allergies.
  • Investing in a HEPA filter can also be a wise idea. HEPA filters are high efficiency and trap dust particle, pet dander, smoke, etc. better. They are often found in air filters, as well as in some vacuums.
  • Change your sheets frequently. Dust mites and pet dander sit on top of sheets and can cause allergy flares. Wash your sheets and change them frequently to keep the dust and dander from piling up.
  • Pollen is a common allergen in the spring, since plants and flowers are beginning to bloom. Most flowers emit their pollen between the hours of 5 and 10 a.m. Keep windows shut during those hours to prevent it from getting into your home.  

Besides following the suggestions above, if you are worried about the air quality inside your home, Tioga can help by providing air quality testing. If you’re interested and want to learn more, visit the Services section of our website for more information.