May 19, 2009, Fairfax, VA — Spring cleaning? While clearing out cobwebs and boxing up old clothes, don’t forget an invisible but crucial component of your home: the air you breathe. Even in the spring, people spend most of their time indoors—as much as 90 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For those with allergies or asthma, having clean indoor air is crucial to managing symptoms.
Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA), the leading patient advocacy group for allergy and asthma, offers five tips for spring-cleaning the air in your home to make it lung-friendly by reducing allergens and irritants.
- Smoking: Ask family members or visitors not to smoke in your home. Consider having your family take the EPA Smoke-Free Home Pledge (www.epa.gov/smokefree).
- Mold: Search under sinks, around tubs and showers, on windowsills and in laundry areas for any signs of dampness and mold. Track the source of water, plug it up and clean up visible mold. Purchase and use a dehumidifier in basement areas.
- Air it out: Give your bedroom a thorough airing out—wash curtains, linens and bedspreads, and make sure to clean anywhere dust and allergens collect.
- Use a HEPA vacuum: If you don’t have one already, consider getting a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuum. These vacuums have special filters that keep dust and allergens from blowing back into the air in your home.
- Replace HVAC filters: Replace your furnace filters before air-conditioning season. And since the filter that comes with your HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) system isn’t designed to help you breathe better (it simply keeps dust and debris from clogging parts of the system) look into a high-efficiency filter or an air-cleaning unit.
For more information, go to www.aanma.org and download the free Indoor AIRepair at Home guide to getting rid of allergens and mold. From disposing of unused yard chemicals in the garage, to keeping stuffed toys off the bed and animal-proofing the attic, the kit offers a top-to-bottom guide to making the air in your home healthy for your family to breathe.
Founded in 1985, Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics is the leading national nonprofit family organization dedicated to eliminating suffering and death due to asthma, allergies and related conditions. AANMA’s core areas of expertise are education, advocacy and outreach. The organization’s www.aanma.org website and award-winning publications, Allergy & Asthma Today magazine and The MA Report newsletter, are consumer lifelines to medical news and healthy living.