Pollen is produced by plants and trees. It is microscopic and floats in the air. The key with pollen avoidance is to keep outside air out of the home and car.
- Keep windows and outside doors closed during pollen seasons.
- Use of swamp coolers is discouraged because of the increased potential for dust mite and mold growth, which thrive in humidity. They also bring outdoor air and pollens into the home. Use central or room air conditioning when possible.
- Consider purchasing a “HEPA” air filtration unit. These can be placed in the bedroom and any other rooms where you spend large amounts of time. HEPA air purifiers very effectively eliminate pollen as well as dust, dander and mold spores from the air.
- Consider pollen counts when planning outdoor activities. It may help to limit your outdoor activities during the times of highest pollen and mold counts.
- Hand washing after outdoor play helps avoid transferring pollen from the hands to the eyes and nose.
- If you are outdoors during high pollen counts, change your clothes (not in your bedroom) when you come indoors and leave these clothes in the laundry room (not in your bedroom). Try to keep the bedroom a safe, clean area since you spend a third of your day here.
- Dry laundry in a dryer only; avoid hanging clothes outside to dry.
- Drive with your windows closed. If it is hot, use your air conditioner.
- Change air filters throughout the house regularly.
- Keep pets that spend time outdoors out of the bedroom. In addition to animal dander allergens, they may carry and deposit pollen stuck to their fur.
Molds thrive in humid and moist conditions. The key to controlling mold is to reduce the moisture or humidity of the environment.
- In the bathroom – use an exhaust fan or open a window to remove moisture after showering. If possible, wipe down damp surfaces. Wash bathrooms with a mild (50 percent) bleach solution at least once a month.
- In the kitchen, use an exhaust fan to remove water vapor when cooking. Discard spoiled foods immediately. Empty the garbage daily. Empty water pans below self-defrosting refrigerators frequently.
- Vent the clothes dryer outside.
- Remove leaves, clippings and compost from around your house.
- Consider purchasing a “HEPA” air cleaner to remove spores from the air inside your house.
- Use humidifiers sparingly as they can inadvertently put mold spores into the air. If you choose to use a humidifier during the dry Colorado winters, make sure to clean it frequently to prevent mold growth within the humidifier.
- Avoid cutting grass and raking leaves or wear a mask during these activities.
- Remove indoor houseplants, especially in the bedroom where you are encouraged to create a “safe” and clean environment.
Pet and Animal Allergens
Pets are a year-round source of irritants and allergens. Allergy develops to the protein in their saliva, urine, fur and dander (dead skin scales).
- If you have a pet, keep it out of the bedroom at all times. Shut the door and run a “HEPA” air cleaner to remove dander from the air. Air cleaners can reduce the level of airborne cat allergen by about 50 percent.
- Pets should be washed weekly by a non-allergic person.
- Use a face mask when brushing a pet or changing litter. Wash hands and change clothing after pet contact.
- Cat dander especially settles on carpets and soft furnishings. Dander can be released back into the air when touched. As you update your home, consider wood floors and furnishings that can be wiped clean.
- Trap dander from flowing through the duct system by using efficient vent and furnace filters.
- Vacuum using high efficiency vacuum bags and vacuum exhaust filters.