Air Quality at Home

Once you finally break free of the hospital and get to go home as a family, the last thing you want is to go back to the hospital any sooner than necessary. These are a few of the best tips compiled from multiple sources to help you have the best air quality possible flowing through your home for your child and you to breathe. Asthma patients, I’m talking to you too!


Did you know that the air inside can be more polluted than the air outside? It’s true! Pollen, animal allergens and mold spores can affect the quality of the air inside your home. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency describes indoor air pollution as one of the top five environmental health risks. For people with allergies, scientific studies have shown that air filtration reduces these airborne allergens and may provide some relief.

If your home has a central heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, you can turn it into a “whole house” filtration system by installing a better permanent or disposable air filter. The most cost-efficient choice is a disposable filter with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating of 11 to 13 — the higher the MERV rating the better. The filter will catch particles such as pollen, pet allergens and mold, and it won’t impede the airflow. Air filters typically need to be replaced every three months.

Check your filter monthly if…

  • You have indoor pets
  • You have indoor smoking or vaping
  • Have a large family (more dust and dirt moves around)
  • Live on or near a dirt road
  • Construction is going on nearby
  • Fireplace has been in use

According to these are the best filters for allergens.

  1. Filtrete Ultrafine Particle Filter – MERV Rating of 14
  2. Filtrete Healthy Living Elite Allergen Reduction Filter – MERV of 13
  3. Nordic Pure – AC Furnace Air Filter – MERV of 13
  4. Filtrete Healthy Living Ultimate Allergen Reduction Filter – MERV 12
  5. Filtrete Allergen Defense Odor Reduction Filter – MERV 11
  6. Filtrete Micro Allergen Defense Filter – MERV 11

Of course the filters vary in pricing and size, and they can all be found on Amazon so you don’t even have to leave your house to get one. Amazon will also let you put items like this on auto-reorder so you never forget when it’s time to change the filter, the new one arriving at your door let’s you know.

Change The Way You Vacuum

Whether you have carpets or hardwoods with a few area rugs, you are going to need to vacuum at some point. Vacuuming regularly to keep dust, dander, and particulates to a minimum is a must.

Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA or ULPA filter to reduce the chance of any particles recirculating. Vacuuming temporarily stirs up dust that takes a couple of hours to settle back down., making the HEPA or ULPA filter important. These filters need to be changed approximately every six months and should be changed outdoors so that the trapped dust particles are not released back into the indoor space.

Pest control

One of the worst respiratory irritants found in homes is cockroach debris, and other pests can be equally problematic. Let me apologize now for the next sentence that made me cringe, so it may you as well. The National Pest Management Association reports that 63% of homes in the United States contain cockroach allergens. In urban areas, that number rises to between 78% and 98% of homes. Even if you don’t see them, the remnants could still be there. The saliva, feces and shedding body parts of cockroaches can trigger both asthma and allergies. These allergens will be circulated into the air during sweeping or vacuuming.

If you have any signs of pests in your home, remove them as quickly as possible. These days, many pest control companies offer alternatives to spraying for pests, such as cockroach bait traps.

Pests also love medical equipment. Keeping on top of your pest control will not only ensure improved air quality, but will also prevent any unnecessary equipment malfunctions from bug infestations.

If you’re in an apartment, this is usually done for you by the management team, if you notice a problem contact the property management. In single family homes, it is recommended quarterly.


In 1989, NASA discovered that houseplants can absorb harmful toxins from the air, especially in enclosed spaces with little air flow. More research began from there. While plants have less horse power than air purifiers, they’re more natural, cost effective, and therapeutic. Choose plants that are easy to take care of and unlikely to trigger allergens. Spider plants, aloe vera, and Boston ferns are just a few simple plants that are especially good at cleaning the air.

Make sure you let the water drain into a pan or a tray, remove the excess water regularly, and use sub-irrigation planters to prevent excess humidity and mold growth. Covering the top of the soil with Spanish moss or aquarium gravel also removes mold.

If you have indoor animals check ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants page to make sure they are safe for your animals.

A Few More Quick Tips

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, these are a few other things you can do to improve the air quality in your home.

  • Keep the humidity level in your home below 50 percent. Do not use vaporizers or humidifiers.
  • Do not permit smoking or vaping in the home at any time.
  • During the height of pollen season, reduce the amount of pollen you’re tracking into the home on your shoes or clothes by either removing your shoes or using a tracking mat at the door.
  • Groom your pet outside your home to cut down on the amount of pet dander in the air. Wash your pet’s bedding regularly.
  • Scrub bathrooms, basements and other tiled areas to cut down on the potential for mold to grow.
  • Use an exhaust fan in the kitchen (and bath and laundry areas if possible). Switch it on before preheating the oven or firing up the burners, and leave it running for a few minutes after you’re done cooking.

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