Allergy Proofing Your Home in Calgary

It’s that time of year in Calgary- good ol’ allergy season! Blizzards of pollen are flying around us, and sniffles and sneezes are frequent. Here are a few ways to allergy proof your home so that you are safe from the allergy storm, inside your home.

Did you know: That the level of pollutants inside of your home may be 2-5 times higher, and in some instances 100 times higher, than outdoor levels? These pollutants and allergens tarnish the quality of airflow throughout your home and can be the cause of many allergies and health problems.

Maintain Clean Airflow Throughout Your Home

This is probably one of the most important things when creating an allergy free home. You may think your home is your “safe place” but actually indoor air quality has been ranked as one of the top 5 environmental risks to public health- how crazy is that! The air in your home is full of allergens such as pollen, mold spores and dust mite debris. It is also full of microscopic particles such as smoke, dust, bacteria, virus particles odor particles and pet debris, that when built up can be harmful and have long term health side effects.

One of the best ways to maintain allergen free air is to choose the right filter for your air conditioning and furnace and to change it regularly. It is important to find an electrostatic filter that has a 2200 Microparticle Performance Rating (MPR) that is at least 90% effective at attracting and capturing large airborne allergens. You must also check the packaging for instructions on how frequently to change the filter, but lets be honest the more frequently you change it the more efficient your air quality control will be. Certain activities such as construction, burning candles, fireplaces, pets and smoke significantly increase the amount of allergen particles in the air, thus shortening the life and reducing the effectiveness of your filter. So moral of the story, check it regularly and change it accordingly.

Lastly, using your air conditioner or furnace fan has been proven to be effective when cleaning the air in your home, however keep in mind that this also shortens the life span of your filter.

Cleaning Supplies

Photo: newcf.net

Use Chemical Free Air Fresheners and Cleaning Products

Using cleaners with artificial fragrances and chemicals to get rid of allergens in your home, such as pet dander, pollen and dust mites, actually work against you. They are known to create new allergies and make your allergy symptoms worse. They also put harmful allergens and pollutants into the airflow of your home and actually have some very dangerous health effects. Different fragrances can cause change in blood pressure, mood, blood flow and trigger those awful dreaded migraine headaches.

Products such as Nature Clean do not contain any of these harmful chemicals and use green organic ingredients, use minimal odors and are generally hypoallergenic that are good for your home and your body.

Do Not Use Aerosol Cans

Aerosol cans are bad for the environment and are therefore not good for us. They trigger allergy symptoms, making them worse and are a leading cause of asthma. Ladies, this includes our hair spray bottles! Try using products that come in pump bottles and better yet, with natural odorless contents inside.

Use a Water Filtration System

Unfiltered water may contain many allergens that have collected in the water as it has travelled through the city to your home. Filtering your water is important, especially if you have allergies. It will remove any chlorine, fluoride, dirt or chemicals that you can’t see when it comes out of your tap.

Cleaning

Photo: Peaches’n Clean

Clean Frequently

The accumulation of dust can be one of the worse things for allergies, especially if you have kids. Here are a few things you should be doing almost weekly:

  • Dust!
  • Vacuuming/ de-odorizing your carpets- this is where dust mites love to hide and accumulate!
  • Machine wash in hot water any bedding, including duvet covers, extra blankets and kids stuffed animals

Use VOC Free Paints

When renovating or repainting a room in your home it is important to buy paints that are Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) FREE! VOC’s are chemicals inside certain paints that are released into the air as you paint a wall. Most VOC’s leave the paint once the wall is dry, but some do not and will release chemicals into the air, years after you have painted. VOC’s are known to put you at a higher risk of developing different allergies and severe asthma; they have also been linked to a cause of cancer.

Many paint companies advertise VOC free paint but after reading their data sheets you may be surprised to find that they contain more than you would expect and want.  In Calgary check out Goldgrass Homes for home renovation and cleaning products that are good for you and your home.

Purchase Chemical Free Produce

Many insecticides and herbicides are well known to cause allergies and plenty of health problems. Buying certified organic products, especially produce, will ensure that you are not ingesting these harmful chemicals.

organic produce

Photo: Rogue Health and Fitness

Do Not Use Chemicals on Your Lawn or in Your Garden

It is important to avoid using fertilizers and insecticides that contain harmful chemicals on your lawn and garden, especially if you have kids. If they like to play outside, like most kids do, the chances of them breathing in or even ingesting these chemicals can be high. Like the rest of the chemicals above this can lead to life long allergies and health problems. See the Who to Call blog for some alternative ideas to keep the exterior of your home chemical and allergy free!

Allergens are sneaky and will find a way into your home when you least expect it, so it is important to be serious about reducing them and to do it all. Take one thing at a time and eventually you will have a home that is allergy friendly- your body will thank you!

 

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Alana Kitchen
Alana Kitchen
Alana Kitchen, founder of Who To Call Inc. Taking care of a house with three boys I always needed a good drywaller on speed dial. When I moved to Calgary I quickly discovered it was an Olympic sport to find home service businesses that provided the quality service and advice I was looking for. This experience inspired Who To Call – a website dedicated to helping Calgarians find quality home service repair companies. Sign up to post your project and find quality companies today!
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