No matter where we live or work, clean air is a must-have. And it’s critically important if you’re one of the 50 million Americans who have allergies. Eliminating cigarette smoke is one of the first things most people consider. It’s a great start, no doubt. “In addition to smoke and seasonal pollens, other airborne allergens—including animal dander, dust mites, and mold—are a year-round concern,” says Dr. Robert J. Mamlok, Teladoc’s allergy specialist. “Maintaining clean air is more than just a spring or fall task.”
Let’s look at a few easy yet extremely effective ways to enjoy fresh air indoors. You’ll be surprised how much these simple steps can improve air quality:
- Be wary of the “3 Ms”—moisture, mold, and mildew. If water is leaking in the kitchen, bathroom, basement, or other areas, repair the leaks as soon as possible, and then remove any mold or mildew. Your respiratory system and your wallet will thank you.
- Put the kibosh on kitchen fumes. Although bacon smells delicious while it’s frying, the entire house shouldn’t smell like breakfast at the end of the day. If your stove’s vent hood doesn’t vent directly outside, try opening a window while cooking; a small fan can help create a draft and direct fumes toward the opening.
- Control critters. This one’s a little yucky but necessary. We all know that bugs and critters need to be eliminated when they crawl inside the house. After the pest-control people have done their thing, be sure to sweep and vacuum up the little carcasses so that they don’t contribute to the dust and other matter swirling through the air. And while we’re on this subject, be sure to remove cardboard and other paper packaging from your house as soon as possible. Insects—especially roaches—love to eat the glue and live between sheets of cardboard.
- Vacuum vents. Air conditioners, purifiers, fans, and other equipment that cleans and moves air will eventually clog with dust. Make a habit of vacuuming them and replacing air filters periodically (HEPA filters are very effective). Also, try keeping them clear of furniture and other obstacles to help them operate efficiently. (Quick Tip: Start with clean filters and a fresh bag or empty dirt receptacle, then remove the bag or empty the receptacle when you’re finished—and always do this outside the house.)
- Leave gases outside. The next time you come home with an armful of freshly dry-cleaned clothes, try removing the plastic bags and letting fresh air flow through the items outdoors or in a highly ventilated area inside the house before hanging the clothes in a closet.
- Did anyone say air purifier? If you’re in an office or classroom most of the day, consider bringing in an air purifier equipped with HEPA filters. They come in a variety of sizes depending on the amount of space you want to treat. At home you can place purifiers in a few rooms throughout the house (at least one on each floor level.)
Although allergies and asthma can’t be prevented, you can do a lot to reduce the possibility of an allergic reaction or asthma flare-up. Keeping the air as clean as possible is always a good tactic whether you’re at home, in school, or at work.
If you’re battling allergies or asthma, or even if you don’t know what’s causing your symptoms, Teladoc can help. Our board-certified doctors can diagnose your condition, recommend treatment and, when medically necessary, send a medical prescription to a pharmacy that’s convenient for you. You can even select the pharmacy using the app. Whenever you or a family member needs us, you can trust Teladoc 24/7 anywhere in the U.S. by app, web, or phone.
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