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  • Fall Allergy Triggers and Seasonal To-Dos

    September 23, 2020

    Learn how you can keep fall allergens like ragweed and mold at bay and maintain cleaner indoor air.

    • The weather might be cooling down, but allergens in outdoor air are still around. With fall comes new pesky particles like ragweed and mold spores kicked up by fallen leaves.¹ These particles can be carried indoors on shoes, clothes, pet fur and through any open windows or doors, so it’s important to take care of your indoor air quality and minimize allergens. Luckily, there are steps you can take to become more aware of common autumn allergens, and prep your home before fall is in full swing.
       

      Common fall allergy triggers
       

      Ragweed: Ragweed pollen is one of the most common fall allergens, affecting around 23 million Americans in the U.S. It usually hits its peak growth in mid-September, and one plant can produce up to 1 billion pollen grains.² ³

      Leaves: Fallen leaves on your lawn can often cause mold growth, especially if there’s heavy rainfall. When you rake up wet or dry leaves, it can kick up those spores and trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology suggests especially sensitive individuals wear a respirator mask while raking leaves or gardening.¹

      Dust mites: Dust mites can be present in your indoor air all year round, but turning on your heat for the first time in a few months can stir up even more than usual. They might also hang around if summer runs long—dust mites thrive in humidity levels of 70 to 80 percent.⁴

      Ash and candle smoke: Chilly fall weather might inspire you to light a few candles or open up a fireplace. However, both of these can release ash and soot.
       

      How to help reduce fall allergy triggers in your home
       

      These common allergens don’t have to become a problem at home. This easy to-do list will help you prep your home for the change in season and help reduce the number of unwanted particles in your air.

      Dust your heating vents. Getting rid of dust buildup before you turn on the heat can help reduce the amount of dust mite debris that get kicked up when you power up the system for the first time. It’s a good idea to make a habit of dusting in general, especially in autumn when windows are closed and dust might settle more easily.

      Add an air purifier. If you’re especially concerned about allergens in a particular room, try a Filtrete™ Smart Air Filter with a Filtrete™ True HEPA filter, which can help capture 99.97% of airborne particles*, such as dust and lint, mold spores, bacteria, viruses and pet dander.

      Clean your gutters. Leaves that get stuck in your gutters can create lots of mold spores close to windows and doors in your home. Clean your gutters at the end of summer, and keep an eye on them throughout autumn—they’ll fill up quicker with all those falling leaves.

      Rake your yard often. Like leaves in the gutters, damp leaves on the ground produce mold spores that can sometimes trigger mild allergic reactions.

      Clean your chimney. If you do decide to fire up the fireplace, you can reduce the ash and soot released into your indoor air by hiring a chimney sweep to inspect and clean your chimney. This will also help the fires you do have burn more efficiently.

      Replace your HVAC filter regularly. A fresh HVAC filter will help capture fall allergens and keep your indoor air cleaner. We recommend a change at least every 90 days for 1” filters; and every 12 months for 4”, 5” and 6” filters. And good news: our Filtrete™ Smart App helps simplify filter replacements for all Filtrete™ Air Filters. Pair a Smart Air Filter to the app, and you can expect a real-time notification to make a change; use the barcode scan feature, and the app will start a change countdown timer. Easy peasy!

      Keep doors and windows closed. Crisp fall breezes are nice, but they can bring airborne particles like pollen and smog into your home.

      Planning ahead for the change in season will make the transition easier—and cleaner. Enjoying all autumn has to offer is even better when you know you’re doing all you can to protect your home’s indoor air from fall allergy triggers.

      Sources

      1. https://acaai.org/news/four-things-you-might-not-know-about-fall-allergies
      2. https://www.aafa.org/ragweed-pollen/
      3. https://acaai.org/allergies/types/ragweed-allergy
      4. https://www.aafa.org/dust-mite-allergy/

      *from the air passing through the filter media. Initial efficiency value.