There’s no doubt about it, increasingly Americans deal with allergies and allergic reactions that threaten their health, peace of mind, and even their lives. The rate of increase in allergies for children is over 50 percent from 1977 through 2018, and now 1 in 13 children in the United States suffer from allergies.
Roughly 90 percent of the allergic reactions in children come from eight specific foods - eggs, milk, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shell-fish - and require more than a quarter million emergency visit each year.
Add to that increases in pollen and other allergen counts, and you might find that your home is a veritable war zone for those at risk of anaphylaxis. For others, it may just be the constant irritation of the sniffles or post-nasal drip.
What can you do to reduce the allergen load in your home?
Allergen reducing strategies
- Don’t let it in. You can keep food allergens out of your home by carefully shopping and reading labels. Not all food labels are complete, however, so when trying something new, reach out to the manufacturer for more specific advice on their food preparation practices.
- Take it out. Sometimes, when allergens like pollen and dust mites are floating in the air, you can’t avoid letting them in, but you can filter them out. Check to see that your HVAC systems have HEPA filters both for the air going into the system (the return) and the air coming out of the system (the vents). While this may reduce your system’s efficiency a small amount, the reduction of dust and pollen floating around your home will give you peace of mind.
- Filter it. Adding a high-quality air filtration system into your home does even more to improve your air quality. These systems remove dust and pollen, but they also remove odors from cooking, candles, and other scents to which family members might be sensitive. There are dozens of superior air purification systems, so research the one the filters out the most of the things to which you’re allergic.
- Vacuum. In general, regular vacuuming reduces the amount of dust, dirt, pollen, and other allergens, but some are better at it than others. Look for a vacuum with a HEPA filter system that is washable or that your regularly replace for best results.
- Remove carpets, drapes, and heavily textured upholstery since they tend to hold more dust and allergens. Replace carpet with wood floors, drapes with shades or easily washable curtains, and consider leather or vinyl upholstery for your furniture.
When you’re house shopping, make sure your agent knows about your allergy issues. Some homes work better than others when you’re dealing with allergies and other health issues. Your real estate professional can local the perfect home for you and your family.