Indoor allergens can cause sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, and other symptoms. To control indoor allergies, check the air filter on your HVAC system once per month. Change the filter if it appears dirty, and at least every three months. To avoid spreading allergens, make sure you wear gloves and a mask and use a plastic bag to get rid of the old filter. Here are some more ways to deal with common indoor allergens such as pollen, mold, dust mites, pet dander, and cigarette smoke in your Baltimore, Maryland, home.

Avoid Pollen

You can suffer from pollen allergies, even if you spend most of your time indoors. People bring pollen into homes on their clothes and shoes, and pets bring it in on their fur. When you get home, change your clothes and shoes. Wipe down pets when they come inside, and keep your windows closed even if the weather is nice. Add an air purifier or filtration system to filter out additional allergens like pollen, which may be small enough to bypass traditional fiberglass filters. Choose a portable model or a system that connects to your HVAC system.

Control Mold

Most plants stop producing pollen by the end of July, but August is the most humid month of the year. Mold needs moisture to grow, so it thrives at this time of year. Mold spores can get into your home through doors, windows, and your HVAC system. It can grow almost anywhere with enough moisture: on walls, insulation, carpeting, ceiling tiles, and more. Along with common allergy symptoms, mold can irritate your skin and aggravate asthma attacks.

There’s no way to keep all mold spores out of your home, but you can control mold by reducing humidity with a portable dehumidifier. Be sure to also use the exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathrooms to get rid of moisture when you cook or shower.

Get Rid of Dust Mites

Dust mites are tiny, eight-legged creatures related to spiders, ticks, and chiggers. They eat organic matter in dust, like pet dander and bits of human skin. They don’t bite people, but they can cause allergy symptoms and make asthma worse. Some people with eczema might actually have skin irritation from dust mite allergies.

To get rid of dust mites, keep the humidity in your home low and vacuum regularly to remove dust. Use dust mite-proof covers on your pillows and mattresses and wash your bedding in hot water at least once per week. You should also wash children’s stuffed toys. Instead of upholstered furniture, choose leather or wood. Consider replacing carpeting with tile, wood, or linoleum flooring, when possible.

Remove Pet Dander

Animals like dogs, cats, rodents, and birds shed tiny flecks of skin called dander along with their fur or feathers. To remove pet dander, use a damp cloth to dust twice per week and have your carpets steam cleaned regularly. Brush cats and dogs outside every day and bathe them weekly. Many brands of pet shampoo can remove other allergens in addition to dander.

Add ventilation to lower the concentration of pet dander and other allergens in your home. A whole-house ventilation system, also called an energy recovery ventilator or ERV, connects to your HVAC system, removing contaminated air and replacing it with filtered air from outside. ERVs also transfer the heat in the air like a heat pump to save energy. You should also clean your HVAC system’s air registers, and have your ductwork cleaned seasonally by a professional.

Stay Away From Cigarette Smoke

Cigarette smoke can make other allergies and asthma worse and increase the risk of asthma in children. You should avoid smoking around kids and people with respiratory problems, whether it’s at home or in a car. Quitting smoking can help you get your allergies or asthma under control.

Griffith Energy Services can help you deal with allergens by improving the indoor air quality in your Maryland or Northern Virginia home. We also install, maintain, and repair a variety of HVAC systems. Call us anytime at 888-474-3391 to discuss your options for cleaning, repairs, or installation.

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