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1. Make the Investment in an Air Purifier

Air purifiers come in many shapes and sizes, but they all work by removing the most common allergy triggers like dander, pollen, and dust mites. Change the filter in your air purifier according to the directions and you can eliminate the contaminants that make you miserable.

2. Use a Vacuum Cleaner with a HEPA Filter.

HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance. HEPA filters can capture up to 99.97 percent of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns (True HEPA) or 99 percent of particles that are 2 microns or larger (HEPA).

3. Wash Your Bedding with a Mite Control Product

The average person spends between a quarter to a third of her life in bed. And mattresses are the favorite breeding ground for the infamous dust mite, a potent allergen. Keeping your bedding free of dust mites and their waste products is one of the most effective ways of limiting allergens in your home (and in your lungs). Occasional use of a dust mite laundry product, such as De-Mite Laundry Additive, removes dust mites from bedding without having to use the hot water cycle.

4. Make Parts of Your Home Inaccessible to Pets

Not having pets is simply not an option for many people, allergies notwithstanding. But if your beloved pets cause allergic reactions, there is still hope. Consider limiting them from your sleeping zones. Yes, it’s comforting to sleep with pets, but not if they make you suffer. Keeping the space in which you spend such a large amount of time free from allergens can make the time you do spend with your pets more comfortable and enjoyable.

5. Change Your Filters

Does it have a filter? Routinely change it and use a HEPA filter where possible. This includes your vacuum cleaner, car air filters, HVAC system, and air purifier.

6. Clean with Anti-Allergen Solutions

Some cleaning products can actually make your allergy symptoms worse. Use products that are safe for allergy sufferers to reduce irritating your airways. A wide variety of products exists for cleaning everything from hard surfaces to window treatments, upholstery, and carpets. Read the label and opt for anti-allergen solutions as often as possible.

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Clean furnace and air conditioner filters are more energy efficient -- by far -- than dirty, clogged ones. Sure, you can limp along and still heat and cool your home with clogged air filters, but why would you really want to? Dirty air filters require as much as 15% more energy to maintain a consistent indoor climate than when the filter is clean, and that costs you hard-earned cash as well as precious natural resources.

How hard are you making your HVAC system work? Resistance is the measure of the amount of effort your system has to exert to pull air through your filter. The lower the number, the better: fewer repairs and lower energy costs.

The entire purpose of an filter is to catch dirt and particles you want to avoid breathing inside your home (or having to clean off surfaces). By their very design, filters are made to become clogged. Whether you have replaceable filters or permanent filters, you will need to deal with the build-up of particles to maintain high HVAC efficiency and keeping your indoor air quality at its best.

The good news is that making sure your air filter is working with you and not against you is easy and affordable:

Replaceable Air Filters

Ideally, replaceable air filters should be changed out at least once every season, or four times a year.

If you’re not sure whether it’s time, there are various products that will alert you to the right time to change your air filter, like the AirFilterSentry Notification Service along with CleanAlert’s FILTERSCAN WiFi.

Permanent Electrostatic Air Filters

These air filters use high efficiency filtration media and are designed to be washable hundreds of times while being made of materials that resist corrosion and warping for a lifetime.

Follow the instructions and use simple household cleaning products and your garden hose once a month to clean these filters and keep them working at their best.

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Don’t you just love acronyms? MERV is an especially colorful one, reminding us – if you’re old enough – of the funny guy who hosted talk shows and wrote the Jeopardy! theme song. But in the realm of indoor air quality, especially for those of us who suffer from allergies, MERV stands for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value” -- whew, that’s a mouthful. In English, MERV really just means, “how well does your air filter work?”

MERV rating was developed by The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers to indicate a filter’s worst performance possible at removing particles ranging in size from .3 to 10 microns (in other words, really tiny!).

Pollen – 10+ microns

Dust Mites – 10+ microns

Textile and Carpet Fibers – 10+ microns

Mold Spores – 2.0 to 10 microns

Pet Dander – 1.5 to 10+ microns

Dust – 0.5 to 10 microns

Bacteria – 0.3 to 10+ microns

Tobacco Smoke – 0.3 to 2 microns

Most home systems can remove airborne contaminants with filters rated MERV 7-12. Higher rated filters, from 13-16, are usually found in hospital or surgery environments.

Illustration: Filterfast.com

Higher Is Not Better

You might think that a higher MERV rating would automatically be better, but it’s not. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the pores are for air to flow through an HVAC filter. This can create more resistance in airflow than a system is designed to manage, thus making it inefficient. Reducing the air flow in your system can actually worsen the air quality in your home and put a damaging amount of pressure on the fan of your furnace or AC system. So it is worth doing some research. Find out what the highest MERV rated filter is that still allows for maximum airflow in your system.

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Carpets have long been touted as the enemy of anyone who has allergies. But, if you’ve recently moved into a home that still has a lot of carpeting, there is hope beyond expensively removing all traces of it from the floor.

It is true that carpets can hold an extraordinary amount of allergens that could trigger a reaction. If there is carpeting in your bathrooms and kitchen, remove that first. Water creates a lot of mold and this presents, not only an allergen heaven, but a serious health risk for those with respiratory problems. If you have the means to do so, we recommend at least removing carpeting from high traffic areas of your home such as the living room and hallways.

For other areas, there are solutions such as specialized carpet cleaners that aid in picking up dust and neutralizing allergens for a certain time period. Using these in conjunction with a HEPA air filter and vacuum cleaner may greatly reduce your symptoms until you can remove the carpeting.

Keep in mind that old carpeting will likely hold a greater number of allergens, while new carpeting may have chemicals that can take a while to dissipate. If you are putting in a new area rug, try airing it out in a dry space and then pre-treating it with a non-toxic anti-allergy carpet cleaner.

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Your beloved furry friends should not cause you to suffer from allergies. Sadly, the many of us suffer all the same. There are a wide range of products out there that will help protect you, but here’s why we recommend using a dander lotion on your pets.

Pet dander lotions are designed to help remove the dander, saliva, dust, and other allergens that stick to an animal’s fur and skin. This should drastically reduce the reactions that you or family members suffer from when you come into contact with your pet. You can find ones that are formulated for a specific kind of animal, or one that works on all kinds. Be sure to check the label before applying it to your pet, so that you do not accidentally use the incorrect formula.

Side benefits of using such a lotion include a moisturizing effect and increased shine in the coat. Look for non-toxic formulas when purchasing, and check product reviews online.

Pet dander lotions can be a very effective way of controlling pet allergies. For example, 80% of the users of our AllerPet Dander Lotion for All Pets found it to be nearly 100% effective in reducing allergy symptoms. Take the time to do your research and you may find that a pet dander lotion could greatly increase the quality of your home life.

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HEPA, a term used to describe many air filters, stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. They come highly recommended for those with allergies, because they work well to remove allergens from the air in localized environments, such as individual rooms or spaces.

A HEPA filter mechanically forces air through what is essentially very fine mesh. They are found in many air purifiers, and have varying levels of success in catching particulates. If you have allergies and are looking for an air purifier, look for one that has a HEPA filter and a high filtration rating.

HEPA Filters in Other Products

HEPA filters can also be found in other products, such as vacuum cleaners. Manufacturers say that they will catch dust and allergens that other vacuums throw back into the air. Some people with allergies say that using a vacuum with a HEPA filter has helped reduce their allergy symptoms.

Using a purifier with a HEPA filter will not necessarily cure all of your allergy symptoms, but it has certainly been found to provide relief. Placing one in your high traffic rooms, such as your bedroom and living room, can do a lot to cleanse your air. Adding an allergy-friendly cleaning routine into your weekly schedule will keep further allergens off of your home’s soft and hard surfaces.

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No matter how much you clean your home, small particles and allergens will stick around if you don’t take certain measures to prevent and protect against them. These particles – including mold, pollen, dust mites, and dander are brought in with people and pets and they will circulate through your home undetected unless you have an allergy to one or more of them. Symptoms of this include sneezing, runny nose, watery or itchy eyes, irritated skin, and breathing problems. Take the following steps to improve your indoor air quality and your overall quality of life.

Use filter in your forced air system to capture allergens that are travelling throughout your home. Choosing one that has a high efficiency rating can increase air quality by up to 75%.

Likewise, if you already use a filter, don’t forget to change it! Not only does it lose its efficiency after a few months, but the excess particles can wear your system. Changing it every few months will keep your air cleaner and extend the life of your air system.

Smoking is not good for allergies, however, if you do allow smoking inside of your home, check to make sure that your air filter catches charcoal. A deodorizer may also help.

Wash bedding regularly and use dust-mite barrier products to keep the debris at bay. This goes for other soft materials, like couches and chairs.

Curtains can catch particles blowing in from outside and host dust mite excretions as well. Don’t forget to rotate them through your laundry once in a while, and keep those windows closed when the pollen is at its peak.

Use HEPA air purifiers around your home. These ensure a high quality of air circulation, and if you don’t have a forced air system, they can be invaluable tools for preventing allergies.

We love our furry friends, but sometimes our bodies don’t. If you own a pet, use a dander-reducing shampoo when you wash them.

And last but not least, nothing can take the place of a professional! Once a year, hire someone to come in and check over your filtration system to make sure it’s working its best.

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Now that you have decided that allergy bedding is right for you, you may have noticed the vast variety of options available. Not only are there different brands to account for, but allergy bedding also covers the entire bed clothes spectrum. If you are confused about which products are right for you, take a look at this guide where we break down the benefits of each product.

Pillow Cases: This is arguably the most important allergy bedding product if only because it comes in direct contact with your face. These pillowcases are an effective barrier against dust mites, pet dander, and other harmful allergens. They are even bedbug proof. Pillow cases are the cheapest option when it comes to allergy bedding too, so you can even use it as a test product to see if allergy bedding is helpful for you.

Mattress Protectors: Like pillow casings, mattress protectors are also an effective barrier against dust mites, pet dander, etc. They prevent anything larger than 5 microns from passing through the cover. The mattress protector will prevent direct skin-to-mattress contact, and help protect you from any rashes caused by allergens.

Box Spring Encasings: We often forget about our box springs since they need to be changed so rarely, but they too can hold allergens and dust mites. These box spring encasings are made of three bonded layers of polypropylene fabric, making them both affordable and eco-friendly.

Blankets and Comforters: As opposed to a casing, you can also buy blankets that are completely hypoallergenic in and of themselves. We recommend Mulberry West Satin which are made of 300 thread count polished cotton with Grade A Mulberry silk filling. They are both luxurious and allergy free. They are mildew proof and eliminates moisture 1.5 times better than cotton. Mulberry silk is a porous fiber that naturally repels dust mites and bedbugs. 

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If you are living with allergies, you know how frustrating it can be to get a good night’s sleep. Not only is it hard to fall asleep because you can barely breathe, but you wake up in the middle of the night coughing and sneezing. Not to mention when you wake up in the morning, you’re groggy and feel like you barely even slept! You want night to be a time when you can rest and rejuvenate, not blow your nose every ten minutes.

If this problem sounds familiar to you, you may want to invest in allergy bedding. Online Allergy Relief’s bedding is the best defense against bed bugs, dust mites, and other indoor allergens that trigger allergy and asthma attacks from inhalation of these allergens while we sleep. Dust mites have no trouble slipping through the fabric of your regular sheets and attacking you at night when you are most vulnerable. Allergy bedding, however, is woven much more tightly and acts as a barrier so dust mites cannot get through. Allergy bedding seals dust mites away from their food source (your dead skin cells) so that they die and can no longer cause you harm. Combined with regular cleaning, allergy bedding can make a huge difference in your sleep schedule and your life. 

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One of the trickiest cleaning problems homeowners deal with is mold and mildew. Unlike other home-grown bacteria, mold and mildew can quickly become a very dangerous issue. Mold spore inhalation can cause serious respiratory illness. To help you avoid such illness, we have compiled some helpful mold cleaning tips.

Where does mold come from? Mold is a moisture problem-wherever there is moisture, mold can grow. It is no surprise then that mold is most common in bathrooms and kitchens. Be sure to wipe down sinks and counters regularly, and do not leave puddles of water to air dry.

Do not paint over mold. Painting or caulking over mold is an ineffective band-aid treatment. The paint will just peel off. Clean and disinfect the area completely and then wait a few days before painting over it.

Wear proper safety gear. While small amounts of mold are relatively harmless, some spores can be serious health hazards. To insure safety, make sure to wear an N-95 respirator, goggles, and rubber gloves when cleaning mold and mildew.

Cleaning Solutions. There are several different DIY or store-bought cleaners you can use on mold and mildew. Bleach and warm water, vinegar, or ammonia work well on different surfaces. Never mix bleach and ammonia! Together they create a toxic chemical called chlorine gas. We also recommend Allersearch® AllerMold™. This ready to use spray inhibits the growth of mold and mildew without the use of harsh chemicals or toxins. It can be safely applied directly on indoor or outdoor surfaces that are exposed to high humidity, moisture, and weather – helping prevent the misery of year-round allergy and asthma attacks.

Call a professional. If mold growth is over 10 square feet you have a serious problem. Call a professional ASAP and evacuate or block off the area to prevent respiratory injury. 

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