As allergy and environmental control specialists, we have a variety of checklists and steps, from allergy proofing your bedroom to >easy ways to control indoor humidity, that we recommend to reduce allergens in your home and office. As with any advice, it's really only effective if you follow it. A recent study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology underscores these same points as well as how renters and homeowners differ in how far they go in addressing their indoor environmental issues.
_For allergy, asthma and MCS sufferers, the key point in allergen avoidance is changing the conditions in your home that create or foster the allergens. In terms of allergies and asthma, removing carpet in favor of smooth flooring, using allergy bedding, HEPA air purifiers and vacuum cleaners, and controlling humidity with a dehumidifier are all important and fairly easy ways to reduce conditions favorable for dust mites and mold. Of things like this, the only one that really is not easy to accomplish for a renter, vs. a homeowner, is removing the carpet. But if removing carpet is really the only large task on here that separates what a renter vs. homeowner can change indoors, why did 91% of homeowners make recommended changes while only 63% of their renting counterparts followed the same advice?
_Perhaps people feel less ‘vested’ in a home they rent as opposed to one they own. Certainly washing your bedding in hot water, to kill dust mites, isn't too much to ask? The study is unclear as to WHY people are less apt to make environmental changes, but when connecting this to housing bubble and falling home ownership rates, it is somewhat alarming that this growing population is less likely to affect their indoor environment as much as they could.
_Regardless of whether you own a home or rent, there are a variety of ways you can improve allergies and asthma by making a few changes around your home. First, invest in quality allergy bedding. Once you have it, be sure to wash your standard bedding, regularly and in hot water. You can use a laundry additive or special detergent that denatures protein allergens, but if that is too expensive, simply wash your bedding in hot water.
_Second, keep the humidity level in check. You can pick up a very inexpensive hygrometer to check the relative humidity in any room in your home. A room dehumidifier is a simple yet effective way to reduce humidity in your home to levels where dust mites and mold cannot grow (45% or less).
_Lastly, use some type of air filter. A HEPA air purifier is the best solution, and they range in price to fit nearly any budget. If that's still too expensive, use a quality furnace filter. A high quality air HVAC filter can make a big difference in the air quality in your home.
_Though cost is always a concern when making improvements around the home, the best way to approach the situation is to take a slightly different approach. When you take steps and use products to reduce allergens and humidity in your home, you're not only improving your home but more importantly, improving your health!
_Author: Kevin Gilmore