Dust mites and mold are two common unwanted elements in homes and other buildings that can trigger or worsen asthma and hay fever symptoms. These environmental pollutants can cause wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and breathing problems. In severe cases, dust mites and mold contribute to life-threatening asthma emergencies.
You’ve probably seen mold along bathroom window sills and in other places with damp surfaces and poor ventilation. Mold produces toxic spores that linger in the air, adhere to damp surfaces and grow. Simply learn touching mold can cause sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rashes---all symptoms of hay fever, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
While dust mites and mold can easily make its way into our homes, there are some proactive steps you can take to reduce their threat. Improving your indoor air quality by eliminating or minimizing dust mites and mold can help you stay healthy. Here are some tips from the experts.
- Keep it clean: A lot of dust mites and mold spores can be circulated throughout the home. Filters in central heating and cooling systems tend to trap dust and other air pollutants so change or clean filters regularly. Wash bedding once a week in hot water, keep stuffed toys off beds or choose washable toys, cover mattresses, pillows and upholstered furniture with dust-proof zip covers.
- Be selective: What you bring into your home can affect the level of dust mites present. Experts at the University of Nebraska recommend avoiding ownership of pets with fur or feathers. However, if you love pets, you can minimize adverse health effects of by selecting a sleeping area for animals far away from your own. When furnishing your home, choose rugs, curtains and other items that can be washed regularly.
- Set it right: High levels of humidity encourage mold to grow. The EPA recommends keeping your indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent. You can use a vaporizer or humidifier to help keep your indoor humidity at the recommended levels. Keeping indoor humidity within this recommended range can combat the threat of both dust mites and mold.
- Ventilate your home: Not only can you become more energy efficient, but installing an energy recovery ventilator can protect your family from the common health risks that poor air quality, dust mites, and mold can yield. ERV’s are great for homes of any age, and are greatly beneficial to older homes by better filtering out allergens that enter the home naturally.
Taking care of your home to prevent against environmental toxins such as mold and dust mites all comes down to improving indoor air quality. Take the proactive steps necessary to protect yourself and your family against the effects of these elements.