Indoor Air Quality and Allergy Season
Indoor air quality is the cleanliness of the air within a structure and around it as well. This could be your home, your business or any place you frequent. People have just begun to recognize indoor air quality as a factor in their overall health. Many of today’s common ailments – colds, flu and allergies, for example – are the result of indoor germs and allergens.
Indoor air pollutants are just as harmful as outdoor ones. Legionnaire’s disease and sick building syndrome are both examples of how large groups of people can suffer from dirty indoor air. Heart disease and cancer are long-term effects of breathing indoor air that is of low quality. Other times, the symptoms are specific to the individual and do not have lasting impact. Stuffy nose, irritation of the eyes or throat, headaches and dizziness are all symptoms of exposure to indoor air pollution.
Sometimes, simply removing yourself from the environment is enough to get rid of the short-term symptoms and have you feeling back to normal. However, for those who suffer with spring allergies, the answer is not so simple.
Spring allergy sufferers may need to take extra precautions during the worst part of the season. They can do the following things to reduce their reactions to allergies, especially when they are inside:
Have your air conditioner’s filter changed at the beginning of spring
As a cooling and heating company, you should have known this would be our first tip! It’s absolutely true, though. Clean filters will catch more allergens and pollutants before they ever make it into your home. If your allergies are severe, you may want to have the filters changed before spring and then again at the beginning of summer.
Take off clothes you’ve worn outside as soon as you come in
If you’ve been outside doing yardwork (wearing a mask) or attending a ballgame, you should change clothes as soon as you return to the house. Pollen can stick to your clothes and make you react even though you’re inside. Then when you sit on the furniture, you’ll transfer it to the fabric there, too, meaning that you’ll never be able to completely escape it.
Don’t hang laundry out to dry or lay blankets on the ground
A picnic sounds like a good idea, but the minute you lay that blanket on the grass, it begins to pick up dirt and allergens from the great outdoors. If you don’t wash it when you come back home, it will bring all those things right inside. The same goes for line-dried clothing. The wind carries pollen all around, meaning that you’ll be exposed as soon as you put those sheets on your bed or dry off with that towel.
Keep the windows and doors closed
As much as you might enjoy the fresh, warm air of spring, you probably need to avoid breathing it in as much as possible. Use your home’s air conditioner or ceiling fans to keep the indoor air comfortable throughout the day. Don’t let children or guests stand in the open doorway – which probably drives you crazy anyway. Watch the weather or get an app that keeps up with the pollen count so you can avoid outdoor activities as much as possible on days with the highest pollen count.
Many things can affect the indoor air quality of your home besides pollen. Pet dander, dust mites and mold are common indoor allergens, and those who are already sensitive may experience chest tightness, sore throat or eye irritation while running a space heater or using cleaning products.
It has been proven time after time that indoor air quality can be up to 5 times worse than the air outside. This is primarily because the air doesn’t circulate well. You can improve it by increasing the ventilation in your home. Trickle ventilation is something to look into if you are truly concerned about the quality of air in your home. You can also use a HEPA filter. There are stand-alone varieties that you can put in your bedroom or living room, or you could opt for a disposable filter that fits inside your air conditioner to filter out even more particles than a regular filter.
As long as your air conditioner is in good working order, turning it on during allergy season is one of the best ways to improve the indoor air quality. This includes clean filters and ductwork. Hire a professional company like Tex-Perts Cooling & Heating to completely service your air conditioning unit and get it ready for allergy season!