Living in an older "historic" home, I believe that some of the dust that has settled on a few ledges and windowsills could be as old as the residence itself. So it was with some relief that the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (acaai.org) came to the defense of homeowners who are constantly fighting a seemingly losing battle against the dust bunnies.
So is a dust allergy a sign of a dirty house? The ACAAI says no - however, a dirty house can make a house-dust allergy problem worse. And since many substances in dust cannot be removed by normal cleaning procedures, rigorous cleaning methods can actually put more dust into the air making symptoms worse.
The ACAAI offers the following tips for reducing house-dust allergens:
• Measure the indoor humidity and keep it below 55 percent. Do not use vaporizers or humidifiers. You may need a dehumidifier. Use vent fans in bathrooms and when cooking to remove moisture. Repair all water leaks.
• Remove wall-to-wall carpets from the bedroom if possible. Use a central vacuum or a vacuum with a HEPA filter regularly.
• If you are allergic, wear a N95 filter mask while dusting, sweeping or vacuuming. Remember, it takes over two hours for the dust to settle back down, so if possible, clean when the allergic patient is away and don't clean the bedroom at night.
• Keep pets out of the bedroom at ALL times. Consider using a HEPA Air Cleaner in the bedroom.
• Encase mattresses and pillows with "mite-proof" covers. Wash all bed linens regularly using hot water.
• Do not leave out uncovered food at night, and dispose of food wastes in a tightly sealed garbage can. And if it is an issue, schedule regular professional pest control utilizing integrated pest management (IPM) methods.
• Install a high efficiency media filter with a MERV rating of 11 or 12 in the furnace and air-conditioning unit. Leave the fan on to create a "whole house" air filter and change the filter with the change of the seasons. Have your heating and air-conditioning units inspected and serviced every six months.
Published with permission from RISMedia.