Fresher air starts at home in Georgia

MAR 10, 2016
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Dust mites, mold, pollen, harsh chemicals, animal dander, and cockroaches can all cause problems like watery eyes, a runny nose, hives, and breathing difficulties.


When allergy season hits hard, you can fight back within your own home. Keeping triggers to a minimum doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, a few easy adjustments in your home could make a world of difference.


Advice from an expert


Pulmonologist Matthew R. Hoffman, MD, of The Southeast Permanente Medical Group, says that you can do much to protect yourself from allergy triggers that lurk indoors.


“Professional help can come in handy,” says Hoffman, “but in most cases isn’t necessary to prevent or eliminate indoor allergens. All it takes is common sense and a good strategy to win the battle, if not the war.”


Hoffman suggests consulting with a Kaiser Permanente specialist if your asthma is poorly controlled.


Take action against allergy triggers


Success boils down to keeping common allergens out while cleaning your home regularly. Following these tips should take you a long way.


For dust and dust mites


  • Take off your shoes when coming in from outside.
  • Choose furniture that can be wiped clean.
  • Use a handheld vacuum on upholstered furniture.
  • Use vacuum cleaners with a HEPA filter.
  • Use dust-proof covers on mattresses and pillows.
  • Clean or replace your furnace/air conditioning filters (as recommended by the manufacturer.



  • Clean your bathroom and kitchen once a week.
  • When showering, use your bathroom fan or keep the window open
  • Invest in a dehumidifier for any room that feels damp or muggy.
  • Wash your vinyl or plastic shower curtain if it starts to show mold. (You can even throw it in a washing machine with a little bleach.)
  • After baths and showers:
    • Close your shower curtain or sliding shower door.
    • If your shower door swings open, leave it open.
    • Use a daily shower spray.



  • Keep your doors and windows closed when the pollen count is high.
  • After coming in from outside, take off or change your outer clothes.



  • Use white vinegar to clean surfaces instead of harsh chemicals.
  • Replace perfumed products with unscented ones.
  • When possible, choose natural flooring over carpeting.



  • Send people who smoke outside. Don’t allow it indoors.
  • Use your stove’s exhaust fan when cooking.
  • When using a broiler or indoor grill, keep your kitchen well-ventilated.
  • If you have a wood-burning fireplace, make sure the chimney is kept clean and in good repair.

Pet dander                                                                                                


  • Establish no-pet zones in your home.
  • Use a handheld vacuum on upholstered furniture.
  • Sweep or vacuum your floors at least once a week.
  • Launder dog and cat bed covers regularly.
  • Bathe your pets regularly:
    • Once a month is plenty for most dogs.
    • Cats’ bathing needs vary, so ask your vet.



  • Seal all cracks in your walls, cupboards, and floorboards.
  • Keep all areas free of food particles.
  • Store food in airtight containers.
  • Dispose of newspapers, paper bags, and cardboard boxes.
  • Keep sinks, showers, and tubs clean and their drains free of clogs.


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