Allergy Relief in Humid Climates

March/April 2002
A version of this article appears in the March/April 2002 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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March 01, 2002
Dust mites are a problem in new homes in humid climates. What keeps them away?
        The increasing incidence of allergy and asthma, particularly among children, is a worldwide concern. About 20% of the general population suffer from allergies, and about 5% suffer from asthma.Among children the percentage of allergy sufferers is even higher. Since most of us stay indoors more than 90% of the time, the air quality in buildings is of paramount importance in maintaining respiratory health.         Energy-efficient buildings with tight building envelopes may make for poor indoor air quality—yet allergy-resistant houses must be airtight,well insulated, and well ventilated. One cannot control and filter the ventilation air unless the house is airtight, nor can one maintain a positive pressure. Cold spots and cold floors may be present in houses that are poorly insulated. High local relative humidity (RH) hastens the formation of molds on these cold surfaces and is conducive to the breeding and proliferation of dust mites. So energy-efficient construction is a prerequisite for fighting dust mites, but it is not sufficient in and of itself.  Allergens and Irritants         The major allergens found in homes today are environmental tobacco smoke and dust mite ...

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