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Having a Bad Air Day? Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Better Air Quality Indoors: Evicting Dust Mites continued...

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.”

Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke from tobacco is a huge indoor air offender, experts say. “In terms of irritants, tobacco smoke is a threat to everyone,” Nelson says. “Passive smoke is a risk factor for asthma in children and increases the possibility of a non-smoker developing lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease." This long-term lung disease, also called COPD, includes both chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

The solution is simple: Just say no to smoking in your home. If guests must smoke, ask them to go outside.

Improving Indoor Air Quality Really Works

“The good news is that this stuff is proven to work,” Schachter says. “By increasing ventilation and avoiding use of irritating substances, you will lower levels of known irritants. Some symptoms such as headache and sore throat will go away quickly, while others -- such as asthma-like wheezing -- can take a while to disappear as the airways become less reactive.” 

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Reviewed on April 05, 2010
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