Cold, Flu, Allergies: Can You Fight Them All?
Spring is often thought of as the end of cold and flu season. You’ve made it out of the depths of winter and you’ve fought off all the germs, bacteria, and viruses that accompany the season of sniffles and flu shots.
Unfortunately it’s not over. Bacteria continues to live in your furniture and carpets, waiting to bring about more sneezing and stuffiness.
And what about allergies? As the amount of pollen in the air and in your home ramps up, how can you tell the difference between allergies and illness?
How to Identify the Source
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, approximately 35 million people in the US suffer from pollen allergies, or hay fever. Unfortunately, allergies, flu viruses and colds share some of the same symptoms: sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose; coughing; itchy nose and throat; and dark circles under the eyes.
So, how can you tell the difference?
- Time – Flu and cold symptoms typically slowly appear and clear over the course of a few days; but allergic reactions occur almost immediately and can last a long time, even year-round if you’re continuously exposed to the allergen.
- Treatment – Flu and cold viruses have to run their course, but allergy symptoms like postnasal drip and swollen, watery and/or itchy eyes can and should be improved with proper treatment.
- Temperature – General rule of thumb: if you have a fever, it’s not just allergies.
Safeguard against Allergies
Knowing how to identify the source of your symptoms makes treatment much easier. The best defense begins with understanding the common allergens that you’ll be sure to encounter in your day-to-day life.
- Outdoor Allergens — Ragweed is especially prevalent in the fall and is responsible for 75% of reactions in people with hay fever allergies. Another big outdoor allergen is mold, with spores that float through the air like pollen. Outdoor mold spores begin to increase as temperatures rise in the spring. Read more about outdoor allergens.
- Indoor Allergens — If you’re thinking the best way to avoid allergies is to stay indoors, think again. A recent independent study found that indoor air can be 10 times more polluted than outdoor air. Part of the reason for this is that, in addition to existing indoor allergens like dust mites and pet dander, outdoor allergens sneak indoors on our clothes, our hair, our pets and more. Once they are inside, nothing is actively pushing the allergens outside, so they just circulate and accumulate on furniture, carpets, clothes, etc.
- Airborne Allergens — Opening windows and doors seems like a good idea in milder temperatures, but that fresh air can also carry airborne allergens, like pollen, right into your home, especially on days with high pollen counts. If you still want to air out your home, consider consulting a website or app from a reputable source, such as The Weather Channel, that offers an allergy tracking feature to monitor allergen levels in your area and wait for low level days before throwing your doors and windows wide open.
Reduce, Remove, Relieve
Again, like flu and cold viruses, you can limit exposure to allergens, but you can’t block them out completely. The second step is to reduce and remove existing allergens for maximum relief. High-efficiency filters and regular cleaning can help reduce and remove common indoor allergens and relieve fall allergy symptoms.
- Reduce — Installing a high quality furnace filter with a minimum filtration rating of MERV 8 to attract and capture airborne allergens like pollen, dust and dander, and vacuuming your carpets and rugs once or twice a week with a three-stage HEPA filter vacuum will help reduce allergens in your home.
- Remove — Get a deep clean from Southside Chem-Dry carpet cleaner (shameless plug). In all seriousness, studies have shown that our proprietary Hot Carbonating Extraction (HCE) process removes, on average, 98% of common household allergens. That includes removing dog and cat dander and dust mites from carpets and upholstery. PLUS when a sanitizer is added, 89% of airborne bacteria is removed. Not only that, we use 80% less water than typical steam cleaning, so your carpets dry in hours instead of days and you don’t have the risk of mold and mildew growth that comes from using an excessive amount of water. A professional cleaning from Chem-Dry is safer for your home and healthier for you and your family.
- Relieve — Whether you suffer from allergies and/or asthma or you just want to provide the healthiest home for your family, a Chem-Dry carpet cleaning will help improve your indoor air quality.
We are happy to help you maintain a healthy home with the deepest clean and safe products. Give us a call today to help you fight back against bacteria and allergens in your home.