For America’s 60 million seasonal allergy sufferers, fall can be one of the most difficult times of year as ragweed begins to release its pollen into the air and mold and fungus spores increase due to the decay of leaves and other plants. Each ragweed plant produces one billion pollen grains per average season. This generally continues until the first frost, usually in October.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, allergies are considered the fifth leading chronic disease and are a major cause of work absenteeism, resulting in nearly four million missed or lost workdays each year.
Seasonal allergies can be further aggravated by poor air quality inside the home. Allergy sufferers can begin to take control of their condition by improving the quality of their home environment and create cleaner, fresher air. Moisture control is the key to preventing mold and mildew growth and the resulting allergens from forming. Removing excess moisture also protects against moisture damage to clothing, furniture and valuables and eliminates musty odors.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warns that exposure to mold can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Particularly susceptible are pregnant women, infants, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health conditions. Severe reactions can include asthma episodes, fever, shortness of breath, and mold infection in the lungs.
To minimize exposure to ragweed pollen and mold and fungus spores and to improve indoor air quality, DampRid recommends:
- Stay indoors as much as possible, especially in the early morning when pollen is released.
- Monitor pollen counts in your area by visiting the National Allergy Bureau at www.aaaai.org/nab.
- After spending time outside, take a shower to remove pollen from your hair and skin.
- Remove shoes and jackets immediately upon entering the house to minimize the spread of pollen.
- Keep windows at home and in the car shut.
- Use air conditioning as long as possible to clean the air.
- Wash sheets, blankets, and comforters weekly in hot water to reduce dust mites.
- Vacuum regularly, using a machine with a good filtration system.
- Eliminate cockroaches, as their waste produces allergens.
- Wash pets weekly to reduce dander.
To further manage indoor moisture and humidity, DampRid recommends:
- Install exhaust fans in bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room and any other space water vapor is created.
- Inspect doors, windows and the foundation for water seepage or excessive air infiltration.
- Replace worn caulk and seals.
- Place DampRid moisture absorbers in bathrooms, kitchen and laundry areas, and closets to create fresher, healthier indoor air.