Air filters

  • Air filtration reduces indoor levels of airborne allergens (particularly cat and dog)
  • Optimal choice of cleaning devices:
    • Initial cost and ease of regular maintenance should be considered.
    • Portable room air cleaners with HEPA filters, especially those that filter the breathing zone during sleep, appear to be beneficial.
    • For households with forced air HVAC systems, regular maintenance schedules and the use of high-efficiency disposable filters appear to be the best choices.
    • Sublett:
      • HVAC systems may create reservoirs for triggers if they are not well-maintained
      • Whole house filtration with high-efficiency HVAC filters is more effective in particulate reduction than individual portable HEPA room air cleaners
      • Best method is to use a high efficiency HVAC (furnace filter) rated at MERV 11-12 for whole house filtration and a portable HEPA room air cleaner in the bedroom or one of the sleep zones if their are indoor animals or other reason to be concerned about the sleep environment.
      • Related to any portable room air cleaners it is important they are sized correctly for the room by using the CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) that is appropriate
      • Ionic electrostatic room air cleaners provide little or no benefit and produce ozone, a respiratory irritant




Dust Mites

  • Bedding
    • Encase mattresses, box springs, duvet, and pillows in allergen-proof woven microfiber fabric covers or airtight, zippered plastic covers.
      • Woven microfiber fabrics with a mean pore size less than 10 microns block Der p1, but only those with a mean pore size less than 6 microns block Fel d1
      • Micron One bed covers is an example
    • Wash bedding weekly in hot water (130° F or 55–60° C) and dry in a hot dryer (maximum heat setting). Cover comforters and pillows that can't be regularly washed with allergen-proof covers.
    • Leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so that dust mites will dehydrate and eventually die.
  • Room environment
    • Replace carpets with hard flooring (e.g. linoleum or wood). Wall-to-wall carpeting should be removed as much as possible. Throw rugs may be used if they are regularly washed or dry cleaned.
    • Minimize upholstered furniture or replace with plastic or leather furniture.
    • Minimize dust-collecting objects; keep items in closed cupboards
    • Replace curtains with blinds.
  • Cleaning
    • Use a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filter or a double-layered bag, and wear a dust mask (or ask someone else to vacuum).
    • Remove dust mite reservoirs such as soft toys if possible. If not possibe, soft toys can be frozen (one study used 5° F or -15° C for at least 16 hours) or placed in a hot tumble dryer (maximum heat setting) for 1 hour to reduce levels of dust mites by 90% or greater. If using freezer method, also wash soft toys to remove dead mites and debris.
    • Use acaricides or tannic acid treatments to kill mites in carpet or upholstery, but make sure the patient is not at home when the treatment occurs. These treatments have a modest effect.
  • Reduce indoor humidity if possible (to ideally 50% or less) and use air conditioning. Dust mites require humidity to survive and thrive.

Pet Allergens

  • There are no "hypoallergenic" breeds of cats or dogs (also true for any animal with fur).
  • Remove the pet from the home. Keeping an animal outdoors is only a partial solution, since homes with pets in the yard still have high concentrations of animal allergens. After a cat is removed from the home, the level of cat allergen will remain significantly elevated for the next 3-4 months.
  • If you cannot remove the pet, minimize contact and keep the pet out of the bedroom and other rooms where you spend a great deal of time.
    • Wash hands after handling pets.
    • Do not sleep with a pet.
    • Keep pets off of upholstered furniture.
    • Thoroughly clean carpeting, floors, walls, and upholstered furniture weekly.
    • Removal of upholstered furniture/floors is ideal.
    • Encase mattress and pillows with woven microfiber fabric covers with pore diameter no larger than 6 microns.
  • A HEPA air filter may reduce airborne cat and mouse (not dog) allergen exposure.
  • Wash your pet often. To have some effect, cats should be washed at least weekly, dogs should be washed at least 2 times per week.
  • Urine is the source of allergens from rabbits, hamsters, mice and guinea pigs; remove animal from home or at least the bedroom, and ask a non-allergic family member to clean the animal's cage.
  • Vacuum carpets often or replace carpet with a hardwood floor, tile or linoleum.


CockroachesCockroach avoidance.png

  • Hire a pest control expert/exterminator.
  • Block all areas where roaches could enter the home, including crevices, wall cracks and windows.
  • Fix and seal all leaky faucets and pipes, because cockroaches need water to survive.
  • Remove food sources
    • Keep food in lidded containers and put pet food dishes away after your pets are done eating.
    • Vacuum and sweep the floor after meals, and take out garbage and recyclables.
    • Use lidded garbage containers in the kitchen.
    • Wash dishes immediately after use and clean under stoves, refrigerators or toasters where crumbs can accumulate. Wipe off the stove and other kitchen surfaces and cupboards regularly.
    • Wash down all surfaces, floors, and walls with detergent
  • Wash all bedding, clothing, and curtains that could have been in contact with cockroaches.


Indoor Molds

  • Reduce indoor dampness and humidity, because indoor molds require dampness to grow (usually found in basements, bathrooms or anywhere with leaks).
    • Promptly repair and seal leaking roofs or pipes.
    • Use air conditioning and dehumidifiers to keep humidity levels below 50%. Using dehumidifiers in damp basements may be helpful, but empty the water and clean units regularly to prevent mildew from forming.
    • Avoid storing items in damp areas.
  • All rooms (especially basements, bathrooms and kitchens), require ventilation and cleaning to deter mold and mildew growth.
    • Clean up mold growth on hard surfaces with water, detergent and, if necessary, 5% bleach (do not mix with other cleaners), and then dry the area completely.
    • If mold covers an area more than 10 square feet, consider hiring an indoor environmental professional.
    • For clothing, washing with soap and water is best. If moldy items cannot be cleaned and dried, throw them away.
    • Ensure regular inspection of heating and air conditioning units to prevent contamination with mold.
  • Use HEPA air filters in main living areas and bedrooms.
  • Minimize upholstered furniture.
  • Replace carpets with hard flooring (e.g. linoleum or wood), and avoid installing carpeting on concrete or damp floors.
  • Keep firewood outside until ready to use.
  • Air-dry shoes before putting them into closets.
  • Keep houseplants to a minimum and avoid live Christmas trees.


Outdoor Pollens and Molds

  • Stay indoors with windows closed as much as possible, especially when the air levels of the pollen and/or mold that you are allergic to are high (check local news and internet for pollen counts).
  • Pollen
    • Generally, the entire pollen season lasts from February or March through October. In warmer places, pollination can be year-round.
    • Seasonal allergic rhinitis is often caused by tree pollen in the early spring. During the late spring and early summer, grasses often cause symptoms. Late summer and fall hay fever is caused by weeds.
  • Mold
    • Avoid raking the leaves.
    • Stay away from compost piles.
    • Stay away from heavily wooded areas.
    • Avoid cutting the grass.
    • Stay away from hay bales.



References