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Having a Bad Air Day? Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Cleaning Indoor Air: Pet Allergies

If you have pets that you love, but you also have pet allergies, there are some ways to improve the air you breathe. “Keep the pet outside or at the very least outside of your bedroom,” Calhoun says. “Just reducing the allergen burden in the bedroom will likely have some benefit because we spend eight hours in the bedroom a night.”

Bathing your pet regularly can also reduce allergen burden, according to Calhoun.

Better Air Quality Indoors: Evicting Dust Mites

There are the pets we love and invite into our homes and beds, and then there are those uninvited guests like house dust mites.

These creepy, crawly microscopic critters are the most common cause of allergies from house dust. They can be found where you sleep (your pillows and mattresses), where you relax (upholstered furniture), and where you walk (your carpeting). What’s more, they float into the air when you vacuum, walk on a carpet, or ruffle your bedding.

What can you do? Plenty!

Dust mites love humid air, so keep house humidity below 30 or 35 percent. “House dust mites don’t tolerate dryness well, so you don’t want to run a humidifier in the bedroom to encourage their growth if you are allergic,” Nelson says.

Air conditioning can keep humidity down and reduce dust mite allergens tenfold. If you don’t have air conditioning, try a dehumidifier. You can measure humidity with a hygrometer, available at hardware stores.

Impermeable covers on mattresses and pillows can also help keep these unwanted guests off your bedding. Wash bedding (and washable stuffed toys) once a week in hot water and dry them thoroughly.

Reduce dust by dusting often with a damp (not dry) cloth or dust mop. Vacuum upholstered furniture, drapes, and rugs thoroughly once a week, preferably with a vacuum with a HEPA filter.

Better yet, remove wall-to-wall carpeting and large area rugs, especially in the bedroom. “These can be havens for dust mites,” Calhoun says. “We don’t like to get out of bed and have our feet hit a hard wood floor, but a smooth, hard surface is best if you are sensitive to dust mites.”

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