- Use MERV 11 or Higher Grade Filters and Replace Them Regularly
Studies show that HVAC filtration is the most effective way to control airborne allergens. As opposed to all other methods, central air filtration improves the quality of air in the entire home, rather than in just a localized area.
- Experts, including the American Lung Association Health House, recommend using filters rated MERV 11 or higher.
- Filters should be changed at least every 3 months. Old filters can become a reservoir for contamination and can do more harm than good.
- Avoid washable filters. If these are put back damp, they can grow dangerous mold and fungal spores.
- Mattress Covers and Hypoallergenic Bedding
- Hypo-allergenic mattress and pillow covers provide protection from allergens like dust mites, pet dander, mold spores and pollen.
- Avoid feather and down pillows and comforters, as these are common allergens. Hypoallergenic synthetic materials, such as polyester, are good substitutes.
- Remove Carpeting from Bedrooms
Carpets and rugs trap allergens, especially dust mites and pollen. Experts warn against carpet, specifically in bedrooms, where prolonged exposure occurs for several hours every night.
- Steam clean carpets, especially in bedrooms, on a regular basis.
- If possible, replace carpet with hard flooring such as wood or vinyl.
- Pet Care
Unfortunately, pets and their dander are a common allergen that can cause asthma attacks. Check out our guide to reducing pet dander to cut back the asthma triggers caused by your pet(s).
- Portable Air Cleaners
- A portable HEPA air cleaner will improve air quality in the room it is placed, but will not improve overall household air quality. Therefore, bedrooms are the best places to put these units, where they will provide relief throughout the evening. One study shows that placing several air cleaners around a home lead to an overall higher level of household air quality. Portable air cleaners act in addition to, but are not a substitute for HVAC filters.
- Ionic air cleaners remove particulate matter (PM) from the air, but also release ozone, which is a lung irritant that can cause adverse health symptoms.
- HEPA air filters have been shown to be more effective for dog and cat allergies, than for dust-mite and mold allergies.