Although you may be tempted to "air out" indoor allergens from the home, opening the windows can bring outdoor allergens such as pollen and mold spores into the house. Instead, use air conditioning to clean, recirculate and dehumidify the air in the home.
You may also consider using in-home air filters, many of which can be used in conjunction with existing forced air cooling and heating systems. These include HEPA filtering systems; mechanical filters with standard disposable fiberglass filters that should be changed monthly; permanent air filters with baffles that should be cleaned periodically; and electrostatic filters that utilize the natural electrostatic properties of polypropylene and polyester to clean the air. The filter plates should be cleaned frequently, or they may produce irritating ozone. Keep in mind that although air filters and devices may be popular, none have been scientifically proven to remove allergens and decrease allergy or asthma symptoms.
Keep in mind that although air filters and devices may be popular, none have been scientifically proven to remove allergens and decrease allergy or asthma symptoms. Similarly, having air ducts cleaned, an expensive procedure, has not been shown to be effective in reducing respiratory symptoms. It is more effective to implement environmental control measures to reduce allergens. Those with allergies and asthma should also avoid airborne irritants, including tobacco smoke, aerosols, paint, perfumes, cleaning products or other strong odors or fumes.
Indoor environmental control measures should focus on sites where allergens accumulate. By taking a thorough history and performing allergy tests, if needed, your allergist can help you determine which indoor allergens provoke your symptoms. Environmental control measures differ for dust mites, animal allergens, cockroaches and molds. To relieve your symptoms, your allergist may also prescribe appropriate medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants or asthma medications. Making changes to your indoor environment can take some time. To begin, you may want to write down a priority list. Progressive changes will produce an indoor environment that is less allergenic, easier to clean, and healthier for the whole family.
Your allergist/immunologist can provide you with more information on indoor allergens and environmental controls. This content is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace evaluation by a physician. If you have questions or medical concerns, please contact your allergist/immunologist.