Allergy Sufferers: 5 Ways to Help Improve Indoor Air Quality
Pollen, dust, mold and dander. To some people these are simply nuisances that have to be dealt with. To the 19.1 million adults in the U.S who have been diagnosed with hay fever, these elements represent the “Air Irritant Alliance,” out to wreak havoc on your respiratory system, eyes, and nose. Typical allergy symptoms can turn you into a one-man show of the Seven Miserable Dwarfs: Sneezy, Itchy, Scratchy, Runny, Stuffy, Wheezy and Sniffles.
Poor indoor air quality can trigger allergy symptoms, possibly turning your home and/or workplace into a harsh environment. An Environmental Protection Agency Indoor Air Study found that, on average, Americans spend about 93% of their life indoors. Additionally, the study found that indoor air concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor concentrations.
Luckily there are ways to fight these irritants and help keep those allergic reactions at bay. Get to know HEPA. HEPA will become your new best friend. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air and is a type of air filter that can capture particles as small as .3 microns from the air. Regular use of natural and man-made indoor air cleaners may help you breathe easier. Proper cleaning methods are key as well. Read on to discover 5 ways to help improve indoor air quality.
Is it time for a change?
A dirty air filter does more than drive up your utility bill by making your air conditioner fan work harder, it can actually allow dust and debris to be recirculated back into your home or office. If you have pets, indoor air quality can worsen since a clogged air filter won’t be able to be trap dander effectively. Most air filters indicate how often they should be replaced; however, for allergy sufferers, several factors can impact how often to change your filter, such as (but not limited to) pets, high levels of dust and outdoor pollution. A good rule of thumb is to check your filter once a month.
TIP: Schedule a reoccurring monthly reminder on your calendar or smartphone to check your air filter.
Purify your personal air.
Air purifiers are portable machines that help to further remove contaminants, odors and more from indoor air. Air is passed through a filter or filters via a fan, then the purified air is pushed back into the room. Purifiers come in an assortment of shapes and sizes, depending on your room size or need — from personal purifiers you can wear, to small desktop models, to large-box shaped machines, and even systems for your entire house. Be prepared to spend some money and time, as most models require frequent filter changing or cleaning, but judging from online reviews, most allergy sufferers find it’s worth it.
TIP: Look for an air purifier with HEPA filtration.
Nature’s air filter
Did you know that some houseplants have been shown to purify the air of toxins or even reduce dust by as much as 20% in a small office! Research resulting from the NASA Clean Air Study found some common household plants are effective at removing harmful contaminants from the air, such as formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia, and can help reduce the effects of sick building syndrome. Indoor plants can be inexpensive and easy to maintain in addition to beautifying your home or office. This easy-to-read guide illustrates which plant works best at filtering various toxins.
TIP: Do your research before choosing a plant to bring into your air space. A study in Belgium found that some indoor plants may trigger allergies, with the Ficus benjamina, yucca, ivy, and palm tree most frequently causing a reaction in study participants.
Carpeting can be full of dust mites, dander, and other debris and allergens. Frequent vacuuming is necessary to help remove those irritants and keep the carpet clean. But, look above you. Look left. Look right. Fabric-covered cubicle walls can house all sorts of allergens, and dust loves to accumulate on light fixtures and air vents. Vertical surface vacuuming can be done with the proper equipment and could prove beneficial for those with allergies. Vacuums with hoses and attachments can aid in removing dust from those hard-to-reach places. Coverall Franchised Businesses use HEPA multi-filtration backpack vacuums equipped with attachments, enabling them to effectively remove 99.97% of particles from the air and vacuum commercial floors, baseboards, corners, vents, and vertical surfaces easily and efficiently,
TIP: In additional to vacuuming, regular carpet cleaning can help reduce mold and allergens trapped in carpets.
Feathers are for Birds
Back in the day, feather dusters were popular cleaning tools for home and commercial use. The problem is, they don’t pick up dust. Using a feather duster or dry rag is worse than not dusting at all since all they do is send dust particles into the air to settle back on surfaces or find their way into you. A more effective dusting method is one that traps and removes dirt and other allergens from surfaces, such as using microfiber towels combined with disinfectants. The Coverall® Program uses hospital-grade disinfectants and color-coded microfiber in your facility to kill and capture bacteria, germs, and allergy-causing irritants while removing the most soil possible.
TIP: Check out our guide, 4 Steps to Dusting the Right Way, for more tips on dusting.
Achieving better indoor air quality may help reduce the number of allergens around you. For professional commercial cleaning services that can help improve the indoor air quality and overall health of your workplace, contact Coverall today.
Kristi Williams is the Digital Marketing Coordinator for Coverall. Her background includes web design, programming and creative content. She enjoys reading, traveling and running marathons.