NEW YORK, April 12 /PRNewswire/ — According to a recent study published in Pediatrics magazine, asthma cases could drop nearly 40 percent among American children under age 6 if susceptible youngsters didn’t have pets or other allergy triggers in their homes. The study also found that children with pet allergies were 24 times more likely to have asthma than those without such allergies.
As part of an ongoing partnership to raise awareness about indoor air quality issues, the American Lung Association Health House Project and 3M are offering “”A Guide for Creating a Healthier Home.”” It’s filled with dozens of practical tips to help reduce exposure to pet dander, smoke and other asthma and allergy triggers in the home. To obtain a copy of this booklet free of charge, send an e-mail request with your name and mailing address to email@example.com (or by calling 800-388-3458).
Follow these tips from the booklet to help reduce levels of pet dander and other allergy and asthma triggers in the home:
* Keep pets out of the bedroom. Because so many hours are spent in the bedroom sleeping, this will reduce your exposure to asthma and allergen triggers.
* Bathe your dog or cat weekly. Doing so will help remove a lot of the dander that accumulates on a pet’s fur.
* Place allergen-resistant covers over mattresses and pillows. Blankets and sheets should be washed every week in water that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
* If you can’t keep your pet off a couch or loveseat, cover these pieces with removable, washable slipcovers. * Wash walls and floors periodically.
* Have a nonallergic family member brush your pet outdoors on a regular basis. This will help remove loose hair and reduce the amount of allergens that are brought indoors.
* Use a high efficiency furnace filter, such as a Filtrete filter from 3M, and replace it every two to three months. A high efficiency filter not only protects the furnace, but also can capture up to 30 times more pet dander, pollen and other allergens than standard fiberglass filters.
* Run the furnace fan continuously, regardless of the outdoor temperature. This will enable the filter to capture more particles of pet dander and other allergens in the air. To ensure that the furnace runs continuously, set the furnace thermostat to the “”on,”” rather than the “”auto,”” position.
* Vacuum frequently. To capture more of the pet dander and other allergens that can accumulate on carpeting, try a vacuum cleaner with a high efficiency filtration system.
* Take particular care to wash your hands after handling your pet, and wear a facemask when changing your cat’s litter box.
* Keep your house well-ventilated. Ventilation provides a fresh source of outdoor air and will help dilute pet allergens. Run the air conditioner when levels of pollen, grass and other outdoor allergens are high. This will help reduce pollen intake from the outdoors.
SOURCE: 3M and American Lung Association Health House Project