Smooth floors resistant to dust mites, other allergens
For individuals with serious allergies, the high cost of replacing carpeted floors with smooth floors, while seemingly excessive, may actually be a savvy financial investment.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports that allergies affect one in four Americans and treatments cost Americans $5.7 billion annually. Some allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, coughing and itchy eyes, are prompted by the prevalence of dust mites and other irritants confined in homes. Plush materials, such as carpets and upholstery, trap dust mites, which can irritate home dwellers when allowed to linger.
James Sublett, chair of the Indoor Allergen Committee for the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, told the Boston Globe that indoor allergies are caused primarily by pet dander or hair, mold and dust mites. Carpets are especially persistent in hoarding dust mites. These particles can get caught in the carpet fibers and be propelled into the air when the carpet is stepped upon.
For these reasons, the Boston Globe recommends that homeowners with allergies install smooth floor surfaces, such as wood, linoleum or tile, wherever possible. These floors should be cleaned using a product the wipes away and traps dust, such as a mop, instead of stirring it up, as a broom does. In addition, the news source suggests washing throw rugs regularly and using a HEPA vacuum to clean carpets.
When cleaning floors, individuals should wear a mask that can repel airborne irritants. Experts recommend that home occupants clean their floors several times per month to prevent the buildup of dust mites. In addition, individuals should also be sure to clean behind large pieces of furniture, as dust mites can congregate behind and under them.
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