Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tips For Battling Seasonal Allergies

(StatePoint) Allergy season bombards us with pollen and other allergens. But it's not just the great outdoors that cause allergies. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that indoor organic air pollution levels can be two to five times higher than their outdoor equivalent. 

It's time to learn how to fight back against allergies and the pollutants in our homes that trigger them.

More than 67 million Americans suffer from allergy symptoms, ranging from hay fever to asthma. And many indoor pollutants -- including dust mites and pet dander -- are the top asthma and allergy triggers in young children. 

Dust mites and dander are particularly difficult to eliminate. A few precautionary measures, however, can make your home relatively allergen-free.

Suck It Up

Vacuuming is one of the fastest ways to eliminate many home allergens and learning to vacuum smarter can help. Always clean a room from top to bottom, starting with curtains, tops of dressers and windowsills. A good vacuum cleaner also is critical, such as those with stretch hoses and special brushes to clean difficult surfaces. 

Consider bagless upright models with more powerful motors that can suck up dust mites from tough crevices, such as Panasonic's new MC-UL915 Jetspin Cyclone that relies on a powerful twelve-amp motor to get rid of lingering mites. This versatile vacuum even comes with an air turbine brush attachment for difficult jobs, like gently removing stubborn pet hair from delicate upholstery. When you're done vacuuming, simply pop out the easy-to-clean dust cup to empty and wash for less mess and a fresher smell.

To maintain a healthy home environment, always use a vacuum cleaner with a built-in HEPA Exhaust Filter that captures particles, such as allergens, irritants and pollutants. For more information about new vacuum cleaner technology, visit www.panasonic.com/vacuums.

It Comes Out In The Wash

Regular washings of linens is key, and the hotter the water the better. Wash bedding weekly with 140-degree water, which is hot enough to kill dust mites. So long as the water is sufficiently hot, it isn't necessary to have an expensive washer with a steam cycle. 

If you prefer to limit your hot water heater to 120 degrees or less to prevent scalding, consider a washing machine with a "sanitary cycle" that superheats water internally. You also can choose special anti-allergen detergents. 

Work The Room

Limiting clutter is one of the simplest ways to reduce home allergens. And if you really want to make your home as allergen-free as possible, there are several easy and inexpensive homemade cleaning solutions. 

For sanitizing countertops, spray a 50-50 mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide (the kind in a brown bottle) and wipe with a dry cloth. Tough bathroom mildew can be cleaned with a 50-50 mixture of water and white vinegar, while soap scum can be removed by sprinkling baking soda and scrubbing with a warm moistened cloth. 

There's only so much you can do to combat outdoor contaminants during allergy season. Take that fight indoors and you'll have a better chance at breathing freely. 

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