Top Ten DON'TS
#1. Do not use ionizers, fresh air machines or ozone generators.
Ozone is an air pollutant. There is no such thing as good ozone. Ozone causes you to lose your sense of smell and, thereby, covers up odors.
(For more information go to http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/ozonegen.html).
#2. Do not use humidifiers or vaporizers.
Molds grow on damp materials. Indoor humidity should be maintained below 50% to prevent mold growth. A dehumidifier may be beneficial in damp areas such as basements.
#3. Do not use vacuum cleaners with water reservoirs.
Standing water is an excellent source of mold growth. Recommended products include central vacuum systems and vacuum cleaners with micro-pore or HEP A filters.
#4. Do not invest in questionable equipment/practices to treat allergies without consulting your allergist first.
For example, the treatment of carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture with FebreezeTM is only minimally effective.
#5. Do not just stir dust around when cleaning.
Wiping with a moist cloth or with newer electrostatic fabric dusters, such as SwifferTM that trap the dust can remove over 90% of dust mite allergen that accumulates on hard surfaces. Wear a high efficiency filter mask approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) when dusting or vacuuming.
#6. Do not install wall-to-wall carpeting in the bedroom or in the basement.
Carpets are excellent reservoirs for dust mites. Most persons spend at least 8 hours in their bedrooms daily. Dust mites, like mold, thrive in high levels of humidity. Carpet installed over concrete interferes with the evaporation of moisture. Consequently, that moisture can become trapped under the carpeting to promote mold growth.
#7. Do not allow items that encourage dust mite infestation such as drapes, pet bedding, stuffed animals and upholstered furniture in the bedroom.
Stuffed toys should be washed in hot water every 1-2 weeks to kill dust mites. Dry cleaning and tumble drying on high heat for at least 20 minutes will also eliminate dust mites. Non-washable stuffed toys can be made washable by removing the stuffing and replacing it with nylon stockings. Do not freeze stuffed toys in an attempt to kill mites. The moisture build-up from the thawing process will promote growth of mites and molds.
#8. Do not leave food or garbage out in the open.
Cockroaches feed on the same substances as humans. Controlling food sources will, consequently, reduce the cockroach population. In addition, spoiled foods contain mold. Emptying the garbage daily reduces indoor mold exposure.
#9. Do not open windows/doors during peak allergy seasons.
Indoor air allergen levels are affected by outdoor air allergen levels. It makes sense that keeping indoor environments physically separated from the outdoors will reduce the amount of airborne particles inside the home. Also, avoid outside activities on days when pollen or mold counts are high. Wear a NIOSH 95/100 filter mask when doing yard work or mowing grass.
#10. Do not introduce furry animals to your home environment, especially cats, if you have allergies. Cats are the most allergenic animal.
Virtually all allergic people who are exposed to cats on a regular basis will become allergic to them. If you already have a furry pet, such as a cat, then keep the animal away from carpeted rooms, sleeping areas, and upholstered furniture. It is impossible to adequately remove cat allergen from these items. Cat allergen can remain in the house for several years after the animal is removed.