Health Watch: indoor pollution and allergies

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Almost all of us blames the weather as the main culprit when our eyes start to itch and our nose starts to run, but the real enemy may be lurking inside and not outside your home. (KFSN)

Almost all of us blames the weather as the main culprit when our eyes start to itch and our nose starts to run. But, the real enemy may be lurking inside and not outside your home.

When it comes to her allergies, Andi Graham can pinpoint the usual suspects: her dog, the weather and pollen.

Graham told Ivanhoe, "If it's really been dusty outside, there are times it makes me stop and think, well, that might not be a good thing."

But she overlooked a key suspect. The air filter is often a treasure trove of allergy-causing irritants.

It makes sense - the dirtier the filter, the less effective it is in keeping your home allergen-free.

Shane Kenny, CEO of Filter Snap told Ivanhoe, "It's better that this build-up ends up here like this, than in your lungs."

SubmitThomas J. Shen, MD, Allergist told Ivanhoe, "Pollen, dust, this, that, whatever your pets bring in comes in and stays inside. As soon as you walk on the carpet, sit on your furniture, it becomes airborne and it is effective again."

And when it comes to that cold that just won't go away, Dr. Shen says blame indoor pollution.

"It gets worse. It gets better. It gets worse. It gets better depending upon what you do or what your exposures are," he explained.

Even Dr. Shen says if it's an air filter you need, you may be better off at the hardware store than the doctor's office.

Graham told Ivanhoe, "We had been changing it every three months, but that probably needs to be a little bit more Submitoften since we have pets and allergies."

Kenny said, "You can't control the air that's outside, but you can control the air that's inside."

A good rule of thumb is to check and be ready to change your air filters every three months. But if you own a pet, especially a furry one, check it every month. And if your air filter needs to be changed you'll notice two things right away: one, your heating and cooling system will run more than usual, and two, you'll notice a lot more dust in your home.
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