Biological Pollutants Facts and Impacts

Biological pollutantsBiological pollutants are in our walls, in our food, in the water, even in the air around us. These pollutants are living organisms (i.e. enzymes, fungi, bacteria, viruses) or their byproducts which can be hazardous to human (and animal) health if they are swallowed, inhaled, or otherwise enter the body. The growth and spread of these biological contaminants are affected by nutrient sources, temperature, air movement and relative humidity. These pollutants can contaminate the indoor air in various situations: when living, dead, or debris from dead organisms are distributed by ventilation systems. Here’s what need to know about biological pollutants and how can you protect yourself and your family.

Sources of Biological Pollutants

Biological contaminants are living organisms themselves or the byproducts produced by living organisms. They are often found in areas that provide their preferred food and moisture. These areas include humidifiers, condensation pans, unvented bathrooms or cooling coils – these are all areas that can be breeding grounds for mold. Drapes, carpet, bedding and other dust collecting areas may also attract/accumulate biological pollutants. According to the EPA the following are the main sources of biological contaminants:

  • pollen (from plants)
  • viruses (transmitted via people and animals)
  • mold
  • bacteria (carried by people and animals, soil and plant debris)
  • household pets (saliva and animal dander)
  • droppings and body parts from cockroaches, rodents and other pests or insects
  • airborne dried protein from rat/mice urine
  • Contaminated HVAC systems (can breed mold, mildew and other biological contaminants, distributing them throughout your home)

Health Effects

The health effects felt from exposure to biological pollutants are extensive. Allergic reactions can include asthma, allergic rhinitis and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Illnesses such as chicken pox, measles and influenza are spread through the air while mold and mildew release disease causing toxins. The symptoms of exposure to biological pollutants may include coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath, watery eyes, fever, dizziness, tiredness and even digestive problems.

Reduce Exposure to Biological Pollutants

The main rule in reducing your exposure to these pollutants are to keep up with your general housekeeping (dusting and vacuuming), as well as properly maintaining your HVAC system. Ventilation and air circulation are also important as well as controlling the relative humidity level in your home. By keeping the humidity at 30-50%, the growth of mold, mildew, dust mites and insects is inhibited. You’ll also want to:

  1. Install exhaust fans that are vented to the outdoors in your kitchen, bathroom and make sure your clothes dryer is vented outdoors.
  2. Ventilate your attic and any crawl spaces to prevent moisture from building up.
  3. If you use humidifiers, be sure to clean the appliances and fill them with fresh water every day.
  4. Water damaged carpet or building materials should be thoroughly cleaned and dried or removed or replaced if water damage is severe.
  5. Maintain regular housekeeping. Dust mites, dander, pollens and other allergens can be greatly reduced by regular cleaning.
  6. Take steps to reduce biological pollutants in basements by cleaning and disinfecting the basement floor drain. Run a dehumidifier in your basement if the humidity levels are above 50%.
  7. Change your HVAC system’s air filter regularly and check for any standing water in the condensation pan that is not being flushed out.

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

No matter which HVAC system you have, every unit needs a quality filter that fits properly in order to reduce biological pollutants, keep your indoor air quality clean and your unit running at its maximum efficiency. US Home Filter can supply you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter makes filters that fit all AC/HVAC units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filtersgrille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

Order now from US Home Filter and receive FREE SHIPPING on your order!

Selecting the filters that are just right for your home can be difficult and confusing at times. At US Home Filter we understand this, which is why we offer an experienced staff to help answer any questions you may have. For personal assistance with your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to assist you in selecting the right filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

Top Three Home Allergens

home allergensMost of us are familiar with outdoor allergens and even hear about pollen counts on the local news. However, many people suffer from indoor allergies as well. For indoor allergy sufferers, the colder months provide little relief from these allergens due to the increased amount of time spent indoors. The sneezing and itching continue, and the allergens can lead to more severe symptoms such as wheezing and respiratory infections. To combat indoor allergens, it’s important to understand where they’re coming from and how to control them to make sure you stay healthier in your home, not only this season but year-round.

The 3 Most Common Home Allergens

#1 Mold

Mold thrives in damp environments. This makes bathrooms, basements, laundry rooms or anywhere with unseen leaks mold’s favorite place to grow. Once mold grows, mold spores are released into your indoor air, contributing to dust and allergy/asthma symptoms.

What You Can Do:

  • If you or a family member has a mold allergy, carpet is not the flooring for your home. Instead, select flooring that dries easily to reduce moisture. Also deter anyone with allergies from spending time in rooms that you know are damper.
  • Check for moisture in typically unseen but susceptible places, such as your home’s foundation and windows. Clean affected surfaces regularly.

#2 Pet Dander

You may think that those allergic to animals that it’s the animal’s hair that is the problem. This is not the case. The allergic reaction comes from the pet dander, which is the animal’s dead skin cells, similar to human dandruff. Animal saliva and other bodily substances also are causes for allergic reactions. There are some breeds that produce less dander than other, but there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic animal.

What You Can Do:

  • Try to keep your pets off the furniture and out of the bedrooms if at all possible. Wash blankets and floors regularly to keep the dander at bay.
  • Use an HVAC air filter specifically for pet dander and replace it regularly. Also make sure your home has proper and efficient ventilation.

#3 Dust Mites

This is one of the most common household allergens. Dust mites are tiny insects that feed on human skin and although they can survive anywhere, they prefer bedding and cloth materials like carpeting. Dust mites don’t bite, rather they themselves and their waste can cause serious respiratory problems.

What You Can Do:

  • Invest in dust an allergy control covers for your bedding and pillows. Wash linens, rugs and any stuffed animals in hot water every week.
  • Consider a HEPA filter for bedrooms and any other rooms those with allergies spend time in. Change your HVAC filter regularly to keep dust mites from circulating through the air in your home.
  • Monitor and adjust the humidity in your home. Relative humidity inside and out contributes to the survival of dust mites in your home. The American Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) reports that dust mites thrive in temperatures of 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 25 degrees Celsius) and like humidity levels of 70 to 80 percent.

US Home Filter Offers AC Filters to Help Reduce Allergens

No matter which type of HVAC system your home has, every unit needs a quality air filter that fits properly in order to maximize your indoor air quality, reduce fall allergy triggers and keep your unit running efficiently. US Home Filter can provide you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter in your furnace is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter offers filters to fit all heating and air conditioning units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filtersgrille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

Order now from US Home Filter and receive FREE SHIPPING on your order!

Selecting the filters that are just right for your home can be difficult and confusing at times. At US Home Filter we understand this, which is why we offer an experienced staff to help answer any questions you may have. For personal assistance with your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to assist you in selecting the right filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

All About Dust & Dust Mites

dust and dust mitesHave you ever finished cleaning only to turn around and see dust particles on the surfaces that you just cleaned? Every home has dust and, unfortunately, there isn’t a way to totally prevent or eliminate it entirely; however, you can control it. Dust and dust mites are one of the primary causes of indoor household health issues that include asthma, allergies and respiratory problems. So, what can you do to minimize and manage the dust in your house and improve your home’s Indoor Air Quality?

What is Dust?

There are many factors that contribute to the production of dust, but first it’s important to understand what dust is. According to BusinessDictionary.com, dust is “airborne particulate matter ranging in diameter from 10 to 50 microns, generated by activities such as cutting, crushing, detonation, grinding, and handling of organic and inorganic matter such as coal, grain, metal, ore, rock, wood.”

Controlling the level of dust indoors is a continuous struggle for nearly everyone. Dust originates from numerous sources and persistently collects on almost any surface. The most effective way to minimize dust is to tackle it at its source. While you can noticeably reduce the amount of grime, dirt, soil and filth that originates from these sources, dust will still be very difficult to eliminate.

Outdoor sources: dirt, wind, sand, gravel, streets, sidewalks, garages/driveways, construction, industrial areas

Indoor sources: clothing, dryers, skin flakes/dander, ventilation, carpeting, furniture, linens/drapery, electronics, pets, attics, basements, closets, storage areas, remodeling projects

What are Dust Mites?

Within dust, there are also tiny bugs called dust mites that survive on the skin cells shed from humans. They are commonly found in rugs, carpets and upholstered furniture, as well as commonly seen in bedrooms. Dust mites are one of the most common year-round triggers of asthma and allergies and in a warm, humid house, dust mites can survive all year long. With excess dust in the home, and humans shedding on average 1.5 grams of skin each day, it’s important to keep that dust under control in order to help reduce and minimize the amount of dust mites living in your house.

According to the Mayo Clinic, dust mite allergy symptoms caused by inflammation of nasal passages include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
  • Postnasal drip
  • Cough
  • Facial pressure and pain
  • Swollen, blue-colored skin under your eyes
  • In a child, frequent upward rubbing of the nose

If your dust mite allergy contributes to asthma, you may also experience:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • An audible whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • Bouts of coughing or wheezing that are worsened by a respiratory virus such as a cold or the flu

How to Control Dust and Dust Mites

There are four main or primary problems that can contribute to dust in your home. Luckily, there are ways to remedy these issues which can help reduce the dust in your house.

1. Air Filters

If you have excessive dust in your home, the most likely culprit is a dirty HVAC filter that isn’t working efficiently to effectively clean the air. A clean air filter that is working properly prevents dust and debris from collecting on the mechanical parts of your HVAC system, minimizing the dust levels in your home’s air. Using a high-efficiency pleated filter provides a large surface area with high dust-holding capacity. Pleated filters trap and hold several grams of dust that would otherwise be blown into your ducts and back into your air, settling on the surfaces you just cleaned.

To control average levels of dust, we recommend a minimum of a MERV 8 rating on your home air filter. For greater protection from smaller dust particles (fine, suspended dust), a higher MERV rating is recommended. As the MERV rating increases, the finer the particles that are captured by the filter, therefore a higher percentage of dust and microscopic particulate matter is removed.

Battling dust that continues to reappear on bookshelves, tables, window treatments, and decor is a constant point of frustration for many people. It is virtually impossible to totally eliminate the dust because there are so many sources, but your air filter is a great supporter of your fight to reduce dust as much as possible.

2. Leaky Ducts

If you have efficient, clean air filters and are still battling large amounts of dust, leaky ducts may be your actual problem. If there is a leak in your ducts, they could be releasing dusty, unfiltered air back into your home. When you turn on an HVAC system that has ducts with holes or leaks, the ducts suck up the dirt, dust, and other contaminants in and around your crawl space/attic. This dirt and dust then get blown out of the air vents in your home, reducing your indoor air quality and increasing your energy bills. If you notice that your energy bills are higher, have hot and cold spots in your house or see dirty/lint covered vent registers, you may have leaky ducts.

The best way to resolve this is to call an HVAC technician who can perform a pressure test that will tell them if the ducts need to be resealed. Getting your ducts cleaned and resealed by a professional will save you money in the long run by controlling your indoor temperature, reduce energy costs and most importantly, reducing the amount of dust in your home.

3. Humidity Level

The humidity level both on the outside and inside of your home is another main cause of dust. If you live in a dry climate, or perhaps in a dry season, this can affect the amount of dust in your home. Relative humidity inside and out also contributes to the survival of dust mites, so is related to the amount of dust mites in your home. According to the American Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), dust mites thrive in temperatures of 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 25 degrees Celsius). They also like humidity levels of 70 to 80 percent. So, to put it simply, there will be a lot of dust in the desert, but relatively no dust in the rain forest.

If your indoor air is too dry, you’re going to see more dust in the air. The solution for this is to invest in a humidifier that will help you find a balance in the humidity level in your home. It’s also important to note that dusty and dry air may be a signal that there is a problem with your HVAC system, so if the dust is excessive, you’ll want to get your system checked out.

4. Flooring

The last primary factor that affects the amount of dust is the type of flooring in your house. If your home is carpeted, research has found that carpet harbors dust and dust mites; however, it also holds in the dust making it easier to vacuum it up. Controversially, hard floors don’t hold onto dust and dust mites, but they do contribute to the stirring up of the dust and getting it back into the air when vacuuming, sweeping or simply walking through the house. Regardless of the type of flooring that you have in your house, you’ll want to have a high quality vacuum cleaner that sucks up the dust and dirt, efficiently trapping it so it isn’t released back into the air that you and your family breathe.

US Home Filter is Here for You

Nobody wants to breathe dirty air. There’s no doubt that reducing the dust in the air in your home is highly beneficial for everyone – family members and visitors. The air that you breathe can have a significant impact on allergy symptoms, asthma triggers, and your overall level of comfort. Your air transports allergens and contaminants, allowing them to be inhaled or to settle on surfaces where they can spread to other areas. Minimizing dust improves your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ). Using high-efficiency pleated air filters is a great added level of defense in helping to clean your home’s air from allergens and dust. Using a minimum of a MERV 8 rating will help to collect large amounts of dirt and debris, not only protecting your HVAC system, but going above and beyond by capturing common allergens such as pet dander, dust mite debris, pollen, and mold spores. Upgrading to a higher level such as MERV 11 or MERV 13 is recommended for those who desire a greater percentage of dust collection and trapping the smallest allergens.

Order now from US Home Filter and receive FREE SHIPPING on your order!

Selecting the filters that are just right for your home can be difficult and confusing at times. At US Home Filter we understand this, which is why we offer an experienced staff to help answer any questions you may have. We take pride in helping our customers find the best filtration solutions to fit their individual needs. Whether you need help with one of our standard stock size air filters, a Whole House Air Cleaner replacement filter, Grille filters, or a custom size air filter built to your specifications. For personal assistance with your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to assist you in selecting the right filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

Fighting Fall Allergies

allergiesThe fall season is here. Summer blooms have come to pass and made way for autumn shades, cool evenings, and more time spent indoors. Although fall is a favorite time of year for most people with its vibrantly colored foliage, milder temperatures, and delicious comfort foods, many live in fear of the itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and runny nose this season brings them. That means the “fight against fall allergies” that afflicts numerous individuals is in full force.

In addition to the beautiful elements that many look forward to, the autumn weather also welcomes in a new season of allergies for others that can be particularly bothersome. Some allergy sufferers will find relief from summer allergies as fall rolls in, while others may be preparing to take their turn. Those that are the least fortunate may have to battle with various forms of allergens throughout the changing seasons.

Common Fall Allergy Triggers

Ragweed – Ragweed continues to pollinate and cause misery to its victims in the form of hay fever or allergic rhinitis right up until the first hard freeze. Ragweed is one of the most abundant and widespread types of pollen, with each plant being capable of producing up to 1 billion grains of pollen each season. There are many other types of weeds that generate pollen, such as sagebrush and goldenrod, that vary depending on the different regions of the country.

Mold – When mold levels are high, mold allergies can be especially troublesome and cause allergic responses for those who are not normally bothered by mold. Mold levels increase with warmer weather and greater levels of moisture. Wet surfaces such as tree bark, brick walkways, and leaf piles provide an ideal breeding ground for mold.

Indoor Allergens – Most have a habit of spending more time indoors during the fall season. If you’re lucky enough to have a home that is a biotechnology clean-room, then you should have no issues. But on average, no matter how hard a person tries to create a contaminant-free environment, you will still be exposed to some degree to the most common indoor allergies – dust and pet dander.

Knowledge is power. Those with allergies or sensitivities to these allergens are accustomed to practices that minimize exposure and help defend against the effects of these airborne irritants. If allergies are a new concern for you, there is an overwhelming amount of tips and advice online, but there are a few basic points to become familiar with.

Allergy Prevention/Reduction Recommendations

Check the pollen count – Pollen count fluctuates daily, even multiple times during each day. Pollen can have a significant impact on those who are allergic. Those allergic to pollen often look to numerous online resources and apps that are available to plan their outdoor activities around the anticipated pollen count. Find one that you like and remember to use it when planning YOUR outdoor schedule.

Minimize mold When the conditions are right, mold can grow anywhere indoors or outdoors. Mold only has two basic requirements to grow – moisture and food. Moisture can be in the form of humidity, condensation, standing water, or water leaks. Mold’s food comes in the form of a surface where the mold can grow on. Ideal surfaces for mold growth are natural or organic in nature such as leaves, paper, wood, and clothing.

Do away with dust – Dust is nearly impossible to get rid of completely as it must be controlled at the source. Despite strong efforts to remove it, dust is extremely difficult to remove as there are numerous sources of dust and its constantly reintroduced into the environment.

Hold back the humidity – The air tends to be more dry in some areas during this time of year, but some regions have a higher level of humidity. Mold and dust mites thrive in more humid environments. Dehumidifiers are very helpful in removing moisture from the air, making it the least ideal conditions for the dust mites and mold to multiply. If you already use a dehumidifier at home or at work, remember to change the humidifier pad regularly.

Improve your IAQ – IAQ refers to Indoor Air Quality. One of the most important things you can do to assist with keeping your air clean is regularly change your air filters (including your air conditioning, furnace and whole house air filter). Your air filter provides an added level of defense against dust. It not only protects your HVAC system components and keep your unit clean, but it also removes dust and allergens from your air.

US Home Filter Offers AC Filters to Help Reduce Allergens

No matter which type of HVAC system your home has, every unit needs a quality air filter that fits properly in order to maximize your indoor air quality, reduce fall allergy triggers and keep your unit running efficiently. US Home Filter can provide you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter in your furnace is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter offers filters to fit all heating and air conditioning units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filtersgrille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

Order now from US Home Filter and receive FREE SHIPPING on your order!

Selecting the filters that are just right for your home can be difficult and confusing at times. At US Home Filter we understand this, which is why we offer an experienced staff to help answer any questions you may have. For personal assistance with your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to assist you in selecting the right filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

Pollen…it’s Coming!

spring allergy season is hereThe beginning of spring can be a time of awakening, a refreshing time, and welcomed relief from the harsh elements and gloomy winter weather. However, as the sun is shining and the weather is starting to warm up, spring is also the beginning of allergy season. Pollen is the most common and widespread wind-borne allergen that can be found almost everywhere, not only outdoors but indoors as well. It is estimated that as many as 35 million Americans are allergic to pollen. Those that have an allergy to pollen may experience seasonal allergic rhinitis or hay fever. There are three main pollen categories – tree, weed and grass – and you can be allergic to one or all of them. Those that suffer from pollen allergies in the southern United States begin to feel the effects as early as January while those in the north may not be affected until May or June. Trees are the earliest producers of pollen and cause the first signs of allergy symptoms in those that have a pollen sensitivity. In fact, the pollen count is so elevated in some areas of the United States already that even those without an allergy to pollen are feeling some of the allergy symptom effects.

Facts About Pollen

Pollen grains are the reproductive cells that come from flowers, grasses, trees, plants and weeds. From the start of Spring through the Fall, pollen grains are released by these plants and are carried by the wind in hopes of fertilizing other plants. Pollen is also spread by water, animals and bees. Some interesting facts about pollen:

  • Rather than producing bright, colorful flowers, plain varieties of trees, grasses and weeds are shown to be the largest contributor to pollen allergies. These produce the lightest pollen grains that are carried the furthest by the wind and can remain airborne for long distances.
  • Pollen counts are the lowest after a heavy rain. They are the highest in the morning and when it is dry, hot and windy.
  • One ragweed plant can release as many as 1 million grains of pollen each day
  • Particle size varies by plant, but the majority range from 10-100 microns. The producer of the smallest pollen grains, at .006 microns, is the Forget-Me-Not while the largest pollen produced, measuring as large as 150-750 microns, comes from Spanish Moss.

Spring Allergy Symptoms:

If you’re finding yourself sniffling and sneezing at the start of spring, or earlier if you live in the southern US states, it is most likely due to tree pollen. Symptoms include:

  • swollen, watery eyes, conjunctivitis
  • itchy eyes, nose, throat
  • dark circles under the eyes called “allergic shiners”
  • runny nose, sinus congestion, sneezing
  • coughing, sore throat
  • headache, fatigue

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends the following treatments:

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Nasal corticosteroids
  • Leukotriene receptors
  • Cromolyn sodium nasal spray
  • Immunotherapy

Natural Spring Allergy Relief:

If you prefer to try natural remedies for your allergy symptoms, be sure to look into the following:

  1. Raw, local honey
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar
  3. Probiotics
  4. Stinging nettle
  5. Neti Pot
  6. Quercetin
  7. Essential Oils

Additionally, the following lifestyle changes can also bring extra allergy relief to sufferers.

  1. Wash clothes and bedding once a week
  2. Shower before bed to wash off any pollen on your skin or in your hair
  3. Wipe your pets down after they’ve gone outside
  4. Limit your exposure to the outdoors on days with high pollen counts
  5. Keep windows in your home and car closed to reduce the amount of pollen getting inside
  6. Keep your HVAC system fan running to allow the air to be filtered continuously
  7. Dust, vacuum and mop at least once a week
  8. Remember to change your air filters!

US Home Filter Offers AC Filters to Help Reduce Allergens

No matter which type of HVAC system your home has, every unit needs a quality air filter that fits properly in order to maximize your indoor air quality, reduce spring allergy triggers and keep your unit running efficiently. US Home Filter can provide you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter in your furnace is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter offers filters to fit all heating and air conditioning units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filtersgrille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

Order now from US Home Filter and receive FREE SHIPPING on your order!

Selecting the filters that are just right for your home can be difficult and confusing at times. At US Home Filter we understand this, which is why we offer an experienced staff to help answer any questions you may have. For personal assistance with your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to assist you in selecting the right filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

Are You Allergic to Your Home?

preventing home feverWith the amount of time we spend indoors increasing, so are our allergic reactions to indoor allergens. The allergens we are exposed to change daily, weekly and seasonally; however, we are exposed to indoor allergens year-round. That means that those affected by indoor allergens are suffering constantly. Back in 2011, a report was done by Allergy UK (a charity which supports people with allergies, chemical sensitivity and food intolerance) to better understand the effects of indoor allergies. Questioning 1,600 people, the survey looked at the “home fever” phenomenon, a range of reactions to dust mites and other allergens in the home. The most common symptoms of this “fever” are sneezing and runny noses. The most common symptoms of this “fever” are sneezing and runny noses, much like those of hay fever. However, unlike hay fever which is seasonal, “home fever” can present at any time of the year.

Home Fever Symptoms

One question the report asked the allergy sufferers questioned was what triggered their symptoms the most. The top answer was dust mites, followed by pets, cleaning supplies and mold, respectively. Symptoms that occurred 60% of the time in those surveyed were runny nose, sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. In looking to find out if different areas of the home caused symptoms more than others, the survey found that the most common area participants experienced allergies was in the bedroom. This makes sense as the average bed can harbor around 2 million dust mites.

Overall, it is estimated that 10-20 percent of the world population suffers from similar indoor allergies.  Luckily, there are ways to control indoor allergens and home fever symptoms.

Bedding and Flooring

Washing your bed linens once a week and at a temperature hot enough to kill them (the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends water that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit) is important. You can also vacuum your mattress to remove dead skin cells (aka dust mite food) and replace your current mattress every 7-10 years. Flooring is also the other primary factor that traps dust, dead skin cells and harbors dust mites. Regardless of the type of flooring that you have in your house, you’ll want to have a high-quality vacuum cleaner that sucks up the dust and dirt, efficiently trapping it so it isn’t released back into the air that you and your family breathe.

“Green” Cleaning Supplies

Many cleaning supplies or household cleaning products contain dangerous chemicals that cause irritation to eyes and throat, cause headaches as well as many other health problems. Some of these products even release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other dangerous chemicals. VOCs are found in cleaning products like glass cleaner, air fresheners, dryer sheets, bleach, among others, all of which have been shown to cause allergy and asthma-like symptoms. Switching to, or even making your own, green cleaning products containing natural and plant-based ingredients eliminate these “home fever” triggers.

Reduce Pet Allergens

No matter how much we love our pets, it’s a fact they are a large contribution to indoor allergens in our homes. To combat these allergens, try to create a specific area in your home for your pet that is easy to clean. Keep pets off furniture and beds and regularly wash any linens your pets use. You may also want to consider investing in a filter with a MERV rating of 8-13 to keep the air free from pet allergens – these filters can reduce pet allergens in the air substantially. Lastly, make sure to vacuum regularly and bathe your dog twice a week (using a pet shampoo that contains natural and plant-based ingredients).

Regulate Heat and Humidity

Dust mites and mold both thrive in moist, humid conditions so keeping your house at the humidity level and temperature makes a huge difference in allergy control. Keep your house nice and dry, using a dehumidifier if necessary. You can also remove humidity by opening your windows for one hour per day when the weather is dry and pollen levels are low. You also don’t want your home humidity level too low as this can cause allergens to circulate in the air. It is recommended to keep your home between 68°F-72°F with 40% humidity whenever possible.

Change Your HVAC Filter Monthly

All of the air that is used to cool or heat your home circulates through your HVAC system, eventually passing through the air filter. Make sure you choose the right air filter for your HVAC system and change it regularly to help reduce the allergens in the air that cause home fever. An air filter’s main purpose is to trap and hold all the different kinds of particulates and contaminants in the air that circulate through your heating and cooling system. Checked your filters at least once a month – if they are dirty, they should be changed with a fresh clean filter to minimize home allergens.

US Home Filter is Here for You

Reducing the dust in your indoor air is no doubt highly beneficial for everyone – family members and visitors. The air you breathe in your home can have a huge impact on allergy symptoms, asthma triggers, and your overall level of comfort. At US Home Filter, we take pride in helping our customers find the best filtration solutions to fit their individual needs. Whether you need help with one of our standard stock size air filters, a Whole House Air Cleaner replacement filter, Grille filters, or a custom size air filter built to your specifications, we will be happy to personally assist you with any of your filtration needs! For personal assistance or questions about your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to help you in selecting the perfect filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

Winter Allergy Season Approaching

A lot of people believe that once the cold air arrives, their allergies will go away.  While that may be true for some, this is not the case for everyone.  Quite frequently, we tend to conclude that the symptoms we can experience during the harsh winter months are caused by either a cold or the flu. It can be difficult, at times, to distinguish the difference as many of the symptoms overlap. How can you be sure what you are dealing with? Understanding the variables can help you choose the right path of treatment and know whether you are going to be out of the woods relatively soon or if you are going down for the count. Here’s a breakdown comparison to help you narrow it down!

winter allergy season

So What’s The Deal With Winter Allergies?

As people spend more time indoors during the winter months in general, indoor allergies become more prevalent as compared to the rest of the year when the outdoor air is the biggest contributor to allergies.  As home furnaces kick in, dust, mold spores, and insect parts that have settled throughout the summer are dispersed into the air.  These allergens can cause a histamine response in the immune system, causing watery eyes, runny noses, and other symptoms of an allergy or asthma attack.  The most common winter allergy triggers are dust mites, mold, animals, and fragrances when it comes to indoor responses.  Dust mites are microscopic bugs that are most commonly found in mattresses and bedding, and their waste and remains trigger allergic responses when they become airborne or when you come in contact with them.  The spores of mold found in humid areas like bathrooms or basements can also trigger allergic responses.  Many people think they are allergic to Christmas trees, for example, but really they are allergic to the mold spores that may have collected on them while in storage.  Proteins found in pet hair, skin, saliva, and urine can also cause allergic reactions.  Finally, many perfumes and colognes, as well as lotions, hairspray, air fresheners, candles, and potpourri can elicit reactions with people who have allergies to fragrances.

There are many actions you can take in order to ease your winter allergies.  They include taking antihistamines, decongestants, and allergy shots.  Antihistamines are medicines that reduce sneezing, sniffling, and itching by blocking the effects of histamines in the body, and decongestants help clear mucus out of the nasal passageways.  They can be used together to treat both symptoms of allergies.  Allergy shots expose your body to gradually increasing doses of the allergen until you have time to grow to tolerate it.

Air Filters Can Help!

Filters serve the same main purpose in automobiles, vacuums, humidifiers, refrigerators, dryers, and your home furnace and air conditioner. Protection and removal of contaminants. In your HVAC system, the air filter is there to not only protect your system from harmful buildup on the internal components, but also to help keep the air in your home clean from dust and allergens. This is especially important during those harsh winter months where you are inside for longer periods of time and your house is kept closed to keep your warm air in and the cold air out. The benefits of clean, fresh air are particularly welcome in the winter season when it is more difficult to introduce fresh, outdoor air into the home. To help reduce those winter allergy triggers, make sure to replace your air filter regularly. If your allergies are particularly aggravated by the winter season, consider our highest-rated MERV 13 filters to capture the greatest percentage of microscopic contaminants. Not sure what size you need? Our air filter measurement guide can help!

Order Now and Receive FREE SHIPPING on Your Order!

Choosing the filters that are just right for you and your family can be a challenge sometimes. At US Home Filter we understand this, which is why we are here to help answer any questions you may have and help ensure that you have chosen the proper size air filter that will fit perfectly. If you need personal assistance with selecting your home air filters, contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673. We care about our customers and guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality MADE IN THE USA products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA!

The Eight Allergy Zones in the United States

Eight Allergy Zones of the United States

Allergies are a common condition not only in the United States, but all over the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year. Allergies are defined as a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system that occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to what is normally a harmless substance. The allergen may irritate four of the five individual’s senses – smell, sight, taste and touch – causing inflammation, disability and in severe cases, even death. In order to avoid an allergic reaction, it is necessary to find out what you’re allergic to and then avoid exposure to that allergen as much as possible. However, this is not such an easy task as it may sounds, as each part of the U.S has different varieties of weeds, trees and grasses. This is where the eight (8) allergy zones come into play. Each zone is a different region of the United States, designed to help better identify the cause of a person’s allergic reaction.

The Different Zones

The eight allergy zones in the continental United States are defined as the Pacific, Mountain, Desert, Plains, Southwest, Great Lakes, South, and Northeast. Each zone has a distinctive ecosystem with unique varieties of common allergens present, as well as different allergy seasons. Factors including average temperature, humidity, elevation, precipitation, among others, are used to create the divisions and the common allergens found are fairly similar throughout each zone. Some of the most common allergens found in most of these regions include a variety of grasses, trees (such as oak and cedar), and ragweed.

Using Allergy Zones

Allergy zones were created in order to be able to better identify the triggers of individuals’ seasonal allergies. The zone map can be used as a reference to get more information on what is currently spreading pollen in your area and compare that against what you’re exposed to on a daily basis. Doctors will also use the allergy zone chart to determine which allergens to look for in an allergy skin test, which is used to determine the cause of your allergies. This test helps find the most effective treatments to effectively combat an individual’s allergy symptoms. Zones do have allergens in common, so if you move between zones and experience the same seasonal allergies, you’re probably allergic to something that is common in both zones.

The Most Common Outdoor Allergens in the United States

Southeast

The Southeast region of the United States is home to particular trees, weeds and grasses that cause more allergies than others, some blooming year round and others being active in specific months. One of the top year-round allergens is Bermuda grass which produces allergic reactions at virtually anytime of the year. Tree allergens are strongest and in full bloom from February and May – the main allergen culprits being oak, pecan and cedar. June through November, weed allergens are most active with nettle and ragweed being the most common.

Southwest

In the Southwest, the most prevalent grass allergy comes from redtop grass which is a perennial grass that blooms from May through July. This region is also home to tree allergens mainly from oak trees, but also from cedar and elm. July through September, chenopod blooms and causes the majority of weed allergies.

Northeast

If you’re visiting or living in the Northeast, there are specific trees, weeds and grasses to be aware of. Orchard and redtop bloom from May through August and are at the top of the list for grass allergies. If you’re allergic to tree pollen, oak, pine and birch are in high bloom from February through June. From August through October, ragweed and stinging nettle make weed allergies worse.

Midwest

One of the most common grasses in the Midwest that is likely to give you allergies is called Brome. It is a perennial grass that grows in the spring and blooms through July. Elder, elm and maple trees are the main culprits for tree allergies and bloom from early spring through early summer (March to June).

West

There are several common causes of allergies on the West coast. Grasses such as sweet vernal can cause severe allergies from March through November. From February though June, trees such as walnut and cedar are top allergen producers. Weed allergies are the worst from April through November with iodine bush and pigweed being the leading cause of seasonal allergies from weeds.

US Home Filter Offers AC Filters to Help Reduce Allergens

Family owned and operated for four generations now, we may not be doctors, but we certainly know about allergies and air filters! Over the years our experienced staff has help thousands of customers by answering the same questions that you may have.

At US Home Filter, we appreciate each and every one of our customers. We are here to help you choose the best solutions for your individual needs. Whether you need help with one of our standard stock size air filters, a Whole House Air Cleaner replacement filter, Grille filters, or if you are overwhelmed by choosing the right custom size air filter, we will be happy to personally work with you to help ensure you order exactly what you need and clear up any misconceptions! For personal assistance or questions about your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to help you in selecting the perfect filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

DIY Allergy Relief Kit

DIY allergy relief kitSpring has finally sprung which means that the birds are chirping and the flowers are blooming… and the pollen is increasing. Spring also means that allergy season has arrived. An allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system. It occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to what is normally a harmless substance. It irritates four of the five senses – smell, sight, taste and touch – causing inflammation, disability and in severe cases, even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year.

If you’re a seasonal or year round allergy sufferer, it’s a good idea to have an allergy relief kit at the ready to help relieve those irritating symptoms.

DIY Allergy Relief Kit

1. Skin Creams and Lotions

Itchy skin, hives and rashes are all allergic skin reactions. The best treatment for these to keep in your allergy relief kit are small tubes of moisturizer and hydrocortisone cream. Hydrocortisone cream is a topical steroid treatment that reduces inflammation and lotion can help further soothe the dry, itchy feeling.

2. Injectable Epinephrine

For those at risk for severe, life-threatening allergic reactions, it is extremely important to have injectable epinephrine (EpiPen/Twinject) in your kit. Those that suffer from these severe reactions will experience difficulty with breathing, swelling of the bronchial airways and a drop in blood pressure. If these symptoms aren’t treated immediately they can be life-threatening. Treating these severe reactions with injectable epinephrine can reduce and even stop the life-threatening allergic reactions some have to certain foods, medications, or insect stings.

3. Eye Drops

Itchy, watery, red or swollen eyes can be one of the most irritating and frustrating of all the allergic reaction symptoms. Allergy eye drops work by reducing histamine in the eye tissues. Over the Counter (OTC) antihistamine drops are extremely effective in reducing or even eliminating allergic eye symptoms such as itchiness, redness, wateriness and puffy, swollen eyes. There are also drops for red eyes (decongestant drops) that may also sometimes contain antihistamines.

4. Decongestants

Allergies have you stuffed up and congested? Then a decongestant is a must for your kit. Some allergens cause nasal tissues to swell during a reaction and decongestants relieve this swelling, countering the allergic reaction.

5. Nasal Sprays

If your nose is feeling dry during allergy season, you’ll want to include a nasal spray. There are two types: saline and decongestant. A decongestant nasal spray shrinks the blood vessels inside your nose while a saline nasal spray adds moisture to your nose. Decongestant nose sprays (such as Afrin) should not be used for more than a few days, as they can actually make the symptoms worse leading to chronic nasal congestion.

6. Antihistamines

A small pill available over-the-counter, antihistamines such as Benadryl and Claritin can provide quick relief for allergy symptoms, including nasal congestion, eye irritation, itching, and hives. Allergy sufferers immune systems produce a substance called “histamine” when exposed to the allergen and antihistamines block this substance. Be aware that the majority of OTC antihistamines may cause drowsiness, especially if they’re combined with alcohol. So be careful if you’re driving!

7. Medical Information

If you have allergies that are so severe that they are life threatening, you should consider wearing a medical alert bracelet. For those with less severe allergies, include a medical information card in your DIY Allergy Relief Kit that includes your type of allergies, emergency contact information, insurance information and your doctors name and phone number.

8. Bronchodilators

For asthma sufferers, allergies can cause asthma attacks. Make sure your allergy kit includes an inhaler if you are prone to asthma attacks or bronchospasms.

Natural Allergy Relievers

If you prefer try natural remedies for your allergy symptoms, be sure to look into and add the following to your DIY allergy relief kit:

  1. Raw, Local Honey
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar
  3. Probiotics
  4. Stinging nettle
  5. Neti Pot
  6. Quercetin
  7. Essential Oils

Additionally, the following lifestyle changes can also bring extra allergy relief to sufferers.

  1. Wash clothes and bedding once a week
  2. Shower before bed to wash off any pollen on your skin or in your hair
  3. Wipe your pets down after they’ve gone outside
  4. Limit your exposure on days with super high pollen counts
  5. Keep windows shut to reduce the amount of pollen getting inside

Once your DIY Allergy Relief Kit is complete, make sure to go over the contents with your doctor and make sure you haven’t left anything important out. The kit should be small enough to carry with you in your purse or briefcase so that you always have it on you. You could also make multiple kits and keep one at home, one at work and one in the car. Just be sure to check the items left in the kit every once in awhile and remove/replace expired or missing medication. Don’t forget to store a kit in your carry-on when you travel!

US Home Filter Offers AC Filters to Help Reduce Allergens

Family owned and operated for four generations now, we may not be doctors, but we certainly know about allergies and air filters! Over the years our experienced staff has help thousands of customers by answering the same questions that you may have.

At US Home Filter, we appreciate each and every one of our customers. We are here to help you choose the best solutions for your individual needs. Whether you need help with one of our standard stock size air filters, a Whole House Air Cleaner replacement filter, Grille filters, or if you are overwhelmed by choosing the right custom size air filter, we will be happy to personally work with you to help ensure you order exactly what you need and clear up any misconceptions! For personal assistance or questions about your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to help you in selecting the perfect filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

What Hypoallergenic Really Means

What does the term hypoallergenic really mean?Hypoallergenic is a term seen everywhere these days. From pets to cosmetics and everything in between, there seems to be a new, hypoallergenic alternative available. But what does that mean? Targeted at allergy sufferers, hypoallergenic products make otherwise unusable or unattainable products seem appealing. With promises of fewer health risks and allergy attacks, these products provide the ability to do things one may not be able to do otherwise – such as owning the pet you’ve always wanted or wearing the perfume you love the smell of so much. But is this actually true? Can products, even animals, truly be hypoallergenic and safer for those who suffer from allergies?

What Is The Definition of Hypoallergenic?

Its important to first understand what the term hypoallergenic actually means.

According to the FDA, hypoallergenic products are those that manufacturers claim produce fewer allergic reactions than other products. Consumers with hypersensitive skin, and even those with “normal” skin, may be led to believe that these products will be gentler to their skin than non-hypoallergenic cosmetics. In literal terms, the word hypoallergenic actually means “less allergenic” or in more friendly terms, “allergy friendly”. Products labeled as such are reportedly ‘less likely’ to cause an allergic reaction because they are supposed to contain less allergens (the substances and particles that cause allergy sufferers to have a reaction).

Interestingly enough, there are no Federal standards that govern the use of the term hyper-allergenic or its definition. It basically means whatever the company producing the product wants it to mean. There are also no regulations in place that require manufacturers that use this label to submit substantiation of their products hypoallergenicity claims to FDA. This provides a huge loop hole in promoting hypoallergenic products on the retail level, thus increasing the market value; however, dermatologists say it has very little meaning.

Hypoallergenic Cosmetics

So where did this relatively meaningless term come from? The term was invented in a 1953 cosmetics campaign to promote a new line of make-up and has no medical or scientific meaning. It has since blown up in the cosmetic world. Mascara making your eyes red and irritated? Lotion causing redness and itchy skin? Try this hypoallergenic formula! As it turns out it’s all just a marketing ploy to sell more cosmetics to those consumers manufactures would’ve otherwise lost a sale to. Over time, there have been many agencies and organizations that have tried to get some sort of regulation in place for the term, but so far the attempts have been unsuccessful in the US Court system.

The main reason for the lack of regulation for the hypoallergenic label is the perplexing nature of allergies themselves. What causes allergic reactions when comparing one person to another is not completely understood yet. Two people can have the same allergy, but react to it differently, so no allergies are exactly the same. This is why hypoallergenic products mean “less allergenic” and not “allergy free”. The cosmetics industry, nor federal regulations, can not ever guarantee that a particular product will never cause an allergic reaction in every individual person. Rather, it can only be taken to mean that the product would be less likely to cause a reaction when compared to another similar product with different ingredients known to cause allergic reactions in many individuals.

Hypoallergenic Pets

Another popular place you’ll see the term hypoallergenic is with pets. According to Wikipedia, the definition of “hypoallergenic pets” is: breeds of pet animals (e.g., some breeds of dogs) that are less likely to trigger allergic reactions in people who are sensitized to the pet species (e.g., in people generally allergic to dogs).

This sounds like the best bet for those who have pet allergies – enabling them to have a pet in their home where a fur-baby would otherwise never be possible. The breeds promoted as hypoallergenic are those that do not shed their hair, or shed very little hair, but this is not where the entire allergy stems from. The proteins that cause the allergic reactions are not only in the animal’s fur/hair, but are also in their mucous, urine, saliva and in the dander sloughed from the animal’s skin. A recent study also showed that the amount of allergens found in homes with supposed hypoallergenic breeds were no different than those found in homes with pets considered non-hypoallergenic.

US Home Filter Offers AC Filters to Help Reduce Allergens

Family owned and operated for four generations now, we may not be doctors, but we certainly know about allergies and air filters! Over the years our experienced staff has help thousands of customers by answering the same questions that you may have.

At US Home Filter, we appreciate each and every one of our customers. We are here to help you choose the best solutions for your individual needs. Whether you need help with one of our standard stock size air filters, a Whole House Air Cleaner replacement filter, Grille filters, or if you are overwhelmed by choosing the right custom size air filter, we will be happy to personally work with you to help ensure you order exactly what you need and clear up any misconceptions! For personal assistance or questions about your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to help you in selecting the perfect filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.