GreenPro Allergen Removal

As the seasons change throughout the year, allergies can flare up and cause a host of irritations.

Below is information gathered from The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences regarding some of the most prevalent and common allergens and irritants:

CIGARETTE SMOKE

Cigarette smoke contains a number of toxic chemicals and irritants. People with allergies may be more sensitive to cigarette smoke than others and research studies indicate that smoking may aggravate allergies.

Smoking does not just harm smokers but also those around them. Research has shown that children and spouses of smokers tend to have more respiratory infections and asthma than those of non-smokers. In addition, exposure to secondhand smoke can increase the risk of allergic complications such as sinusitis and bronchitis.

Common symptoms of smoke irritation are burning or watery eyes, nasal congestion, coughing, hoarseness and shortness of breath presenting as a wheeze.


COCKROACHES

Cockroaches are one of the most common and allergenic of indoor pests.

Recent studies have found a strong association between the presence of cockroaches and increases in the severity of asthma symptoms in individuals who are sensitive to cockroach allergens.

These pests are common even in the cleanest of crowded urban areas and older dwellings. They are found in all types of neighborhoods.

The proteins found in cockroach saliva are particularly allergenic but the body and droppings of cockroaches also contain allergenic proteins.

Preventive Strategies

  • Keep food and garbage in closed, tight-lidded containers. Never leave food out in the kitchen.
  • Do not leave out pet food or dirty food bowls.
  • Eliminate water sources that attract these pests, such as leaky faucets and drain pipes.
  • Mop the kitchen floor and wash countertops at least once a week.
  • Plug up crevices around the house through which cockroaches can enter.
  • Limit the spread of food around the house and especially keep food out of bedrooms.
  • Use bait stations and other environmentally safe pesticides to reduce cockroach infestation.

DUST MITES

Dust mites are tiny microscopic relatives of the spider and live on mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, carpets and curtains.

These tiny creatures feed on the flakes of skin that people and pets shed daily and they thrive in warm and humid environments.

No matter how clean a home is, dust mites cannot be totally eliminated. However, the number of mites can be reduced by following the suggestions below.

Preventive Strategies

  • Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to maintain relative humidity at about 50% or below.
  • Encase your mattress and pillows in dust-proof or allergen impermeable covers (available from specialty supply mail order companies, bedding and some department stores).
  • Wash all bedding and blankets once a week in hot water (at least 130 - 140°F) to kill dust mites. Non-washable bedding can be frozen overnight to kill dust mites.
  • Replace wool or feathered bedding with synthetic materials and traditional stuffed animals with washable ones.
  • If possible, replace wall-to-wall carpets in bedrooms with bare floors (linoleum, tile or wood) and remove fabric curtains and upholstered furniture.
  • Use a damp mop or rag to remove dust. Never use a dry cloth since this just stirs up mite allergens.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with either a double-layered microfilter bag or a HEPA filter to trap allergens that pass through a vacuum's exhaust.
  • Wear a mask while vacuuming to avoid inhaling allergens, and stay out of the vacuumed area for 20 minutes to allow any dust and allergens to settle after vacuuming.

Using The Ecology Works Dustmite and Flea Control around the home can drastically reduce dust mite populations.

MOLD

Several molds that grow both indoors and outdoors, produce allergenic substances. These allergens can be found in mold spores and other fungal structures (e.g. hyphae). There is no definite seasonal pattern to molds that grow indoors. However outdoor molds are seasonal, first appearing in early spring and thriving until the first frost.

Indoor molds are found in dark, warm, humid and musty environments such as damp basements, cellars, attics, bathrooms and laundry rooms. They are also found where fresh food is stored, in refrigerator drip trays, garbage pails, air conditioners and humidifiers.

Outdoor molds grow in moist shady areas. They are common in soil, decaying vegetation, compost piles, rotting wood and fallen leaves.

Preventive Strategies

  • Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to maintain relative humidity below 50% and keep temperatures cool.
  • Vent bathrooms and clothes dryers to the outside, and run bathroom and kitchen vents while bathing and cooking.
  • Regularly check faucets, pipes and ductwork for leaks.
  • When first turning on home or car air conditioners, leave the room or drive with the windows open for several minutes to allow mold spores to disperse.
  • Remove decaying debris from the yard, roof and gutters.
  • Avoid raking leaves, mowing lawns or working with peat, mulch, hay or dead wood. If you must do yard work, wear a mask and avoid working on hot, humid days.


PETS AND ANIMALS

Many people think animal allergies are caused by the fur or feathers of their pet. In fact, allergies are actually aggrevated by:

  • proteins secreted by oil glands and shed as dander
  • proteins in saliva (which stick to fur when animals lick themselves)
  • aerosolized urine from rodents and guinea pigs

Keep in mind that you can sneeze with and without your pet being present. Although an animal may be out of sight, their allergens are not. This is because pet allergens are carried on very small particles. As a result pet allergens can remain circulatlng in the air and remain on carpets and furniture for weeks and months after a pet is gone. Allergens may also be present in public buildings, schools, etc. where there are no pets.

Preventive Strategies

  • Remove pets from your home if possible.
  • If pet removal is not possible, keep them out of bedrooms and confined to areas without carpets or upholstered furniture.
  • If possible, bathe pets weekly to reduce the amount of allergens.
  • Wear a dust mask and gloves when near rodents.
  • After playing with your pet, wash your hands and clean your clothes to remove pet allergens.
  • Avoid contact with soiled litter cages.
  • Dust often with a damp cloth.

The Ecology Works Anti-Allergen Solution helps denature pet proteins and can be used virtually anywhere to help alleviate pet associated allergies.  The Anti-Allergen Pet Shampoo is particularly helpful in keeping pets clean and flea free.

POLLENS

Ragweed Pollen

Ragweed and other weeds such as curly dock, lambs quarters, pigweed, plantain, sheep sorrel and sagebrush are some of the most prolific producers of pollen allergens.

Although the ragweed pollen season runs from August to November, ragweed pollen levels usually peak in mid-September in many areas in the country.

In addition, pollen counts are highest between 5 - 10 AM and on dry, hot and windy days.

Preventive Strategies

  • Avoid the outdoors between 5-10 AM. Save outside activities for late afternoon or after a heavy rain, when pollen levels are lower.
  • Keep windows in your home and car closed to lower exposure to pollen. To keep cool, use air conditioners and avoid using window and attic fans.
  • Be aware that pollen can also be transported indoors on people and pets.
  • Dry your clothes in an automatic dryer rather than hanging them outside. Otherwise pollen can collect on clothing and be carried indoors.

Grass Pollen

As with tree pollen, grass pollen is regional as well as seasonal. In addition, grass pollen levels can be affected by temperature, time of day and rain.

Of the 1,200 species of grass that grow in North America, only a small percentage of these cause allergies. The most common grasses that can cause allergies are:

  • Bermuda grass
  • Johnson grass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Orchard grass
  • Sweet vernal grass
  • Timothy grass

Preventive Strategies

Specifically:

  • If you have a grass lawn, have someone else do the mowing. If you must mow the lawn yourself, wear a mask.
  • Keep grass cut short.
  • Choose ground covers that don't produce much pollen, such as Irish moss, bunch, and dichondra.

In General:

  • Avoid the outdoors between 5-10 AM. Save outside activities for late afternoon or after a heavy rain, when pollen levels are lower.
  • Keep windows in your home and car closed to lower exposure to pollen. To keep cool, use air conditioners and avoid using window and attic fans.
  • Be aware that pollen can also be transported indoors on people and pets.
  • Dry your clothes in an automatic dryer rather than hanging them outside. Otherwise pollen can collect on clothing and be carried indoors.

Tree Pollen

Trees are the earliest pollen producers, releasing their pollen as early as January in the Southern states and as late as May or June in the Northern states.

Trees can aggravate your allergy whether or not they are on your property, since trees release large amounts of pollen that can be distributed miles away from the originial source.

Of the 50,000 different kinds of trees, less than 100 have been shown to cause allergies. Most allergies are specific to one type of tree such as:

  • catalpa
  • elm
  • hickory
  • olive
  • pecan
  • sycamore
  • walnut

or to the male cultivar of certain trees. The female of these species are totally pollen-free:

  • ash
  • box elder
  • cottonwood
  • date palm
  • maple (red)
  • maple (silver)
  • Phoenix palm
  • poplar
  • willow

Some people, though, do show cross-reactivity among trees in the alder, beech, birch and oak family, and the juniper and cedar family.

Preventive Strategies

  • If you buy trees for your yard, look for species that do not aggravate allergies such as crape myrtle, dogwood, fig, fir, palm, pear, plum, redbud and redwood trees or the female cultivars of ash, box elder, cottonwood, maple, palm, poplar or willow trees.
  • Avoid the outdoors between 5-10 AM. Save outside activities for late afternoon or after a heavy rain, when pollen levels are lower.
  • Keep windows in your home and car closed to lower exposure to pollen. To keep cool, use air conditioners and avoid using window and attic fans.
  • Be aware that pollen can also be transported indoors on people and pets.
  • Dry your clothes in an automatic dryer rather than hanging them outside. Otherwise pollen can collect on clothing and be carried indoors.

The Ecology Works Anti-Allergen Solution targets pollens and unravels their biological structures.

ALLERGY PREVENTION

The best way to prevent an allergy is to recognize that you have one (see Signs of an Allergy below). Often people confuse an allergy with a cold or flu. Remember colds are short-lived and passed from person to person, whereas allergies are immune system reactions to normally harmless substances. Allergies are best prevented by avoiding exposure to allergens in the first place. A good first step to avoiding allergens is to follow the various PREVENTIVE STRATEGIES outlined for each allergen or irritant.

SIGNS OF AN ALLERGY

  • Sneezing, watery eyes or cold symptoms that last more than 10 days without a fever.
  • Repeated ear and sinus infections.
  • Loss of smell or taste.
  • Frequent throat clearing, hoarseness, coughing or wheezing.
  • Dark circles under the eyes caused by increased blood flow near the sinuses (allergic shines).
  • A crease just above the tip of the nose from constant upward nose wiping (allergic salute).

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