Managing asthma symptoms in Aberdeen, North Carolina, can be difficult during the winter months. Homes can get stuffy when they’re well insulated, which can allow dust and other allergens to accumulate without proper ventilation. There are also certain allergens more likely to thrive this season, including dust mites. This handy guide should help you avoid asthma triggers and help you keep your family’s symptoms under control.
Wash and Cover Bedding
Keeping all linens and bedding clean is key for controlling the dust mite population in your home. Unfortunately, washing your sheets once a week isn’t enough because these microscopic creatures live inside pillows, mattresses, and comforters. You will need to either replace these items frequently or opt for a more economical solution: invest in mattress and pillow covers.
Hypoallergenic mattress and pillow covers are designed to keep dust mites out of the bedding items you can’t easily wash. They are much easier to clean than any mattress because you can remove them and toss them in the washer. Covers also extend your mattress life, reducing overall wear and tear.
Since these covers prevent dust mites from making a home in your bedding, you don’t breathe them in when you’re sleeping, which prevents nightly allergy triggers. You will still need to wash your sheets and covers regularly and dry them in a hot dryer for at least 10 minutes to kill the mites. In cases of severe asthma, change your pillow cases every other day.
Maintain the Proper Humidity
Dust mites thrive in areas with 70- to 80-percent humidity levels. Reducing your home’s overall relative humidity can help keep them at bay since they’ll no longer be able to absorb moisture from the air. Although winter is the driest, coldest season, it’s prime time for cranking up the heat and using humidifiers. Plus, since we spend more time indoors during the winter, we’re actually more exposed to dust mites than during any other season.
While you cannot avoid heating up your home in the winter, you can be more mindful of indoor humidity levels. The downside is that drier air itself can be a trigger for asthma and allergies, not to mention skin issues such as eczema, so it’s important to find the right balance. Aim for a relative humidity level that falls between 40 and 50 percent. A whole-home humidifier can help provide the perfect amount of moisture year-round, making it a perfect HVAC solution for asthma sufferers.
Change the Filters
Air filters are your HVAC system’s defense against allergies, so be sure you’re changing them often. Most experts recommend changing the filters once every three months, but if you have severe asthma, aim for replacing your filters monthly.
You should also consider other areas where filtration comes in handy. A vacuum cleaner featuring a HEPA filter, for instance, can do wonders at keeping dust at bay. That’s because HEPA filters remove nearly 100 percent of the particles that pass through them. If you have portable air purifiers, you should also clean or change the filters regularly.
Keep Your Home Smoke-Free
Most people understand the harms associated with indoor cigarette smoke, but if your winter activities are producing any type of smoke, you could experience a flare-up. Whether you’re using a fireplace or burning candles, smoke is a common trigger for asthma and allergy sufferers. More than that, smoke can travel from room to room without you even noticing.
Instead of using the fireplace to heat your home, try relying on your heat pump or furnace.
Keep Pets Away From the Bedrooms
Pets are like family, but they can cause severe allergic reactions. Keeping your pet clean and brushed helps, but you should still keep them from going into the bedroom of a person with asthma. You may also consider adding a whole-home purifier to your HVAC system to trap pet dander throughout the home. Taking these measures can go a long way toward helping you get a better, symptom-free, night’s sleep.
The right indoor air quality products make your family healthier and happier. Call Sandhills Heating, Refrigeration & Electrical at 910-338-3723 to request an appointment.
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