Experts who monitor allergen for the Web site www.pollen.com, say that allergy season may have ended in late July, but then picks right up again in September and October with the mold.
So what should sufferers do? Sealing yourself indoors can provoke reactions from a whole different set of irritants.The key is maintaining clean indoor air.
The first thing is keep windows closed and keep the filters in your home clean and replace them as needed, according to the Web site.
Another suggestion is to keep the heat-pump fan set on auto to keep the air circulating.
Avoidance is the best strategy, but it’s nearly impossible. Here are more ways to eliminate allergens around your home and lawn.
• Scrub sinks and faucets to remove mold.
• Wipe excess moisture from inside the refrigerator to prevent mold growth. Discard expired food. Empty and clean refrigerator drawers. Replace moldy rubber seals around the doors.
• Clean cabinets and countertops with detergent and water. Check under-sink cabinets for plumbing leaks.
• Place garbage in an insect-proof can and empty it daily.
• Install an exhaust fan to reduce moisture.
• Remove carpeting and use linoleum or tile flooring. Use washable rugs.
• Remove wallpaper and install tile or paint walls with mold-resistant enamel paint.
• Towel-dry the tub and enclosure after each use. Scrub mold from tub and faucets. Clean or replace moldy shower curtains.
• Scrub mold from plumbing fixtures. Repair leaks.
In the yard
• Ward off weeds. Ragweed is a common allergy inducer. Hire a lawn service if you’re particularly sensitive.
• Plant low-allergy plants and trees. Plants with bright flowers cause fewer allergy problems because they rely on insects to transfer pollen. Most trees and shrubs that produce allergenic pollen bloom at certain times of the year. Before planting, ask a nursery specialist about blooming times of these plants.
• Be careful handling mulch and compost because of the mold and mildew potential.
• Follow pollen counts in the area through news sources or online sites. Shower when you come indoors.
• Enclose the work area. Hang plastic sheeting over doorways in rooms where work is under way. Don’t carry the sheeting through the house when the project is complete; push it out the closest window.
• Leave during installation. If possible, stay out of the house until fumes dissipate. Indoor irritants are at their highest when carpet is being laid or hardwoods are being varnished.
• Keep the work area well-ventilated. Open windows and set up fans to circulate the air.
• Check your ducts. During a project your duct work may be exposed. Ducts should be tightly sealed to reduce air leakage. While it’s still not clear whether cleaning air ducts can improve air quality, consider having the ducts cleaned after a project.
• Choose alternative building materials. Pick paints, varnishes and other materials with low volatile organic compounds.
• Consider buying solid wood cabinets instead of those made of particleboard. Solid wood is less likely to emit harmful fumes.
Worst Indoor-Air Offenders
• Grass and tree pollen, blown or tracked inside during the blooming months.
• Dust mites, tiny critters that thrive in places that collect dust, such as rugs, drapes and bedding.
• Mold, which can grow anywhere with excess moisture.
• Pets, which produce dander and saliva that can trigger allergic reactions.
For more information contact Preventive Medicine at Kenner Army Health Clinic at (804) 734-9000.
– Kenner Army Health Clinic