My Porch Is Green!

No wonder I can’t breathe…it’s raining pollen!  Every flat surface on our screened-in back porch is green. 

My relatives up north sing to me about “opening up the house” as soon as the first bird-twittering, sunny days of Spring hit.  But those of us in the South with allergies know better.  We keep the windows closed.  I didn’t always know better.  For the first few years after moving to Florida, I’d open up all the doors and windows as the warmth of Spring and coolness of Fall beckoned.  Each time I’d get a horrendous sinus infection.  It took me about three years to figure it out.  OK, so I’m a slow learner.

But I still like to learn.  Case in point, pine pollen.  Here’s an interesting little tidbit of information I recently found: 

“People attribute their allergies to pine pollen because it’s visible, but it’s actually too large to cause allergies,” Dr. Maya Jerath of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine says in a statement. “It’s the other trees blooming at the same time like maple, oak and birch.  If you know which pollen you’re sensitive to, you can minimize your time outside during the season it is in the air and keep your windows closed,” Jerath says.

Dr. Jerath, where were you twenty-four years ago, when I was learning-impaired?

When you learn things you should have known all along, do you ever wonder, Why didn’t anybody tell me that?  Or am I the only one who thinks there’s a secret, world-wide conspiracy to withhold necessary information from all the slow learners like me?

Perhaps that’s why I dole out unsolicited advice so glibly.  I don’t want anyone to think I’m part of the World-Wide Conspiracy To Withhold Necessary Information From All The Slow Learners Like Me (WWCTWNIFATSLLM for short).

So without much further ado, here’s my free advice for allergy sufferers trapped inside their homes…all the things I’ve learned through pain and anguish, which I don’t want you to suffer through.

1. Change you’re A/C filter(s) at least monthly.  Put reminders on your calendar or cell phone.  (My husband is always saying, “Your cell phone’s ringing.  Are you going to answer it?”  To which I reply, “It’s not ringing.  It’s reminding me to do something.”  “Like what?”  “I have no idea, but it can wait.”) 

2. Use walk-off mats at entry ways.  If you have kids who won’t wipe their feet because they’re too busy thinking about the things kids think about…the least of which is keeping the house clean…use longer mats.  It takes about six steps to walk most of the loose dirt and pollens off shoes.  (I learned that one in my IICRC Carpet Cleaner Certification course!) 

3. Ask the older people in your house to remove their shoes when they come in, so they don’t track allergens all over the carpet.  After asking, plead with them.  If that doesn’t work, you can always yell, but then no one will want to come home. 

4. Vacuum at least once weekly, with a HEPA filter machine.  (You don’t have to spend a fortune on one, either.)  Don’t vacuum like the other female in my house (name withheld to protect the guilty).  She’s always in such a hurry to finish; the vacuum is air-born through most of her frenzied, back-and-forth strokes.  Instead, vacuum a little more slowly and deliberately to pick up everything.  Can you hear us now?  “Why didn’t you vacuum?”  “I did.”  “Then why are there still clumps of dirt over there by the fireplace?”  “I already vacuumed!”  No matter that it isn’t clean.  If a teenager goes through the motions of “cleaning,” the job is done. 

5. If you have larger throw rugs and a vacuum cleaner with a beater brush, turn the rugs over on a hard surface and vacuum the underside.  You’ll be amazed when you pick up the rugs and discover all the trapped dirt that came out of them.  Then vacuum the top side of the rugs.  You can shake out smaller rugs outside, to avoid shaking allergens loose into the inside air.  (Did you hear that, other female in my house, whose name I won’t mention?)

6. This next step has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that we own a carpet cleaning business.  None at all.  But really, if you have allergies and live in a warm, high-humidity area, you should get your carpets professionally cleaned every six months.  If there are a lot of people in your home, or you have pets or smokers, you may want to consider more frequent cleanings.  This is based on U.S. EPA recommendations, and not shameless self-promotion and greed.  Really! 

7. Use runner rugs over traffic areas on hard-surface floors.  Believe it or not, carpets and rugs are healthier for allergy sufferers than bare floors.  This was scientifically proven back in the 70’s when scientists measured particles in the air above hard surfaces, compared to the air above carpet.  The air above carpet was cleaner.  The reason is that when you walk over a bare floor, you kick particles back up into the air you breathe.  Carpets and rugs actually act as a large indoor air filter, trapping dust and allergens in the fibers.  But like any air filter, they need to be cleaned regularly to be effective.  Home and rental rug shampooers or small “steam” cleaners are OK for surface spots and dirt in between professional cleanings.  But in order to get the dirt and allergens trapped deep down in the fibers, you need a professional truck-mounted system to do the job right.

I promise, I’m not telling you this for greedy self-serving reasons.  I just want to keep you empowered against the WWCTWNIFATSLLM!


One Response to “My Porch Is Green!”

  1. Micah Says:

    Amazing issues here. I am very glad to peer your article.
    Thank you a lot and I am having a look forward to touch you.
    Will yoou please drop me a e-mail?

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