Home renovations can generate a lot of dust and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). That can be problematic for any homeowner, but for those who suffer from asthma or allergies, it can have lasting health repercussions.
Those who are planning renovations should take precautions such as ensuring that family members with asthma leave the house while updates are underway. Owners should also use the renovations as an opportunity to make the home more comfortable for allergy and asthma sufferers. Read on to find out about three chances to prioritize.
1. Indoor Air Quality
It’s bad enough for allergy sufferers when pollen levels are high outside. If those airborne allergens can get inside the home, they’ll have no reprieve. One great solution for those suffering from allergies is to install window and door screens designed to prevent contaminants from getting into the home. That way, when pollen counts are high, residents can stay at home without worrying about allergy triggers.
Maintaining healthy indoor air quality is especially important for households with asthmatic residents. Installing an air purifier can help to keep the air clean and alleviate symptoms. Air purifiers remove indoor allergens like dust, pet dander, mold, and smoke, in addition to lingering pollen tracked in on people’s shoes.
2. VOCs in Building Materials
Some building materials release volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It’s difficult to avoid releasing these compounds into the air when performing a renovation since almost all older building materials fall into this category, which is why it’s wise to have allergy or asthma sufferers relocate. It’s important to choose materials that will not continue to release VOCs, though.
While there are no building products that are 100% safe for all allergy or asthma sufferers, buying products certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) can help. These products are tested to ensure that they contain the lowest possible concentrations of VOCs and other potential triggers.
3. Ease of Cleaning
Since many people with allergies or asthma have respiratory issues triggered by dust and mold exposure, it’s very important to keep the house clean. Some materials are easier to clean than others. When possible, try to choose building and flooring materials that are non-porous, rigid, and hypoallergenic. These surfaces will be less likely to attract dust, pollen, dander, and other airborne contaminants, and they will be easier to keep clean, whether that means vacuuming, dusting, mopping, or just sweeping up periodically.
Homeowners may also want to check the cleaning requirements for building materials, appliances, and fixtures before having them installed. Many all-purpose and specialized chemical cleaners contain known asthma triggers like bleach and ammonia, sodium hydroxide, amines, colophony, and limonene. If an appliance, fixture, building material, or piece of furniture has very specific cleaning requirements, consider replacing it with one that can be kept clean using allergy- and asthma-safe products or green cleaners like soap, vinegar, and warm water.
The Bottom Line
There’s no way to control things like outdoor pollen counts, and neither asthma nor seasonal allergies have definitive cures. That doesn’t mean those suffering from these common respiratory disorders should just have to live with unpleasant and potentially dangerous symptoms. Renovating a home to ensure optimal indoor air quality, a minimum of outdoor allergy triggers, and easy cleaning, as well as preventing dust and contaminants from building up, can help.