(BPT) – More than 60 million Americans have asthma and allergies … and it’s likely some of them will visit your home this holiday season. When triggers can lurk anywhere and everywhere, it’s important to take steps to ensure your home will be as comfortable as possible when your loved ones arrive.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s Certification Program offers some tips for getting your home holiday-ready and asthma and allergy-friendly:
Cleaning to reduce triggers
Cleaning is the source and solution for two very common triggers: dust and chemicals.
Dust contains dust mite waste which causes many asthma and allergy sufferers to experience symptoms, such as itchy or watery eyes, violent sneezing, coughing or wheezing, severe nasal or sinus congestion, and in severe cases, difficulty breathing. So reducing its presence will make your home more comfortable for your guests with asthma or allergies. Take these steps to reduce the presence of dust in your home:
* Before the holidays arrive, remove clutter where dust can collect.
* Vacuum carpets regularly with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter.
* Wash blankets, bed linens, towels, bath mats and throw rugs in hot water (131 degree F).
Harsh chemicals that are present in many common cleaning products can also cause reactions, so look for allergy-friendly alternatives. AAFA’s asthma & allergy friendly Certification Program tests and identifies products that are more suitable for people with asthma and allergies. Some Certified cleaning products include hand dusters like Swiffer’s dry and unscented dusters, hard-surface cleaners like Endust Free and hardwood floor cleaners like Bona’s free & simple. Visit www.aafa.org/certified for a full list of products and appliances that are Certified asthma & allergy friendly.
Improving air quality
Research by the EPA has shown indoor air can actually be more polluted and full of allergens than the air outside your home. Improving the quality of indoor air can help ensure your guests with asthma and allergies are more comfortable when they visit.
In addition to cleaning products, a range of household products can help reduce the presence of allergens in the air. Consider placing an air-cleaning device in guest bedrooms. Products like the AeraMax DB5 Baby Air Purifier can remove impurities from the air in rooms up to 200 square feet. For asthma sufferers, a humidifier such as the Dyson Humidifier, can help to control humidity levels. The Dyson Humidifier is the first humidifier to be Certified by AAFA..
Decorating and redecorating with allergies in mind
Whether you’re redecorating a guest room in anticipation of holiday guests or decking the halls throughout your house with holiday decor, be cognizant of how decor can affect allergies.
If you’ll be repainting, opt for a zero VOC, zero emissions paint like the recently Certified Benjamin Moore Natura Paint. Flooring can also be a source of air pollution, so if you’ll be recarpeting or changing flooring material, look for allergy-friendly products.
As you decorate, be sure to carefully clean and dust any holiday ornaments that have been in storage. If guests suffer from tree or pollen allergies, an artificial tree may be less irritating to them. Just be sure to avoid artificial trees coated with sprayed-on “snow.” You can reduce mold problems in a live tree by thoroughly wiping the trunk with lukewarm water and diluted bleach (one part bleach to 20 parts water) before you bring the tree inside. It can also help to use a leaf blower on the branches to remove pollen grains. Finally, avoid scented candles and potpourri, which can cause respiratory irritation.
Approaching holiday preparations with allergies in mind can help ensure the season stays comfortable and bright for everyone who visits your home.
Visit www.aafa.org/certified for tips and resources.