Allergy Season? Wood Flooring vs. Carpet

If you are like 50 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies, you might be happy to know there is a good solution to improving the air quality of your home or work space. But how do you know what you are suffering from?

What are some of the signs of seasonal allergies? Pollen allergy symptoms can range from mild to severe and occur seasonally, but commonly include:

  • sneezing often especially when exposed to pollen or pet dander
  • runny or stuffy nose that doesn’t want to stop
  • watery and itchy eyes sometimes causes a swollen face
  • itchy sinuses, throat, or ear canals
  • ear congestion or wetness in the ear canal when you wake up in the morning
  • postnasal drainage can cause you to cough or have a tickle in your throat

Another idea to consider in 2020 is how pollen season has lined up with the COVID-19 outbreak and may be a worrying cause of stress for individuals who may have commonly attributed symptoms to a yearly reaction to pollen. How do you know if it is the coronavirus or the pollen?

Allergies typically cause nasal symptoms such as a runny nose and sinus congestion but do not usually result in a fever, as is found with coronavirus or the flu. While some symptoms of the coronavirus overlap with allergies, there are several differences. The current research shows that wearing a face covering is a great way to combat the transmission of coronavirus, and the added bonus we find it helps with our allergy exposure when we are outdoors! 

Other coronavirus prevention recommends washing your hands often and not touching your face.  We would go one step further and suggest jumping in the shower when you get home to wash off any pollen.  One final tip is to replace your air conditioning filter with a HEPA grade air filter. If you like to use a vacuum in the home, there are HEPA filters for both floor and stand-up styles of vacuums. 

It’s important to note that this article is not intended to provide comprehensive medical advice. If you have concerns, please always contact your doctor and use general best practices. 

Carpet vs. Wood Floors: Which Should I Choose for my Home?

Carpet has some great positive aspects when it comes to choosing a good floor covering for your home.  It’s warm on your feet, its soft and cushioned when you sit on the floor and it comes in a variety of popular colors.  Many families swear by carpet floors, but there is plenty of new research that may cause families who are forward-thinking to opt out.  Indoor Air Quality is rising to the top of many scientist lists as a major contributing factor to our lung health at home.  

We are aware that outdoor air can carry a variety of chemicals and pollution from fossil fuels and car exhaust.  Outdoor air quality is shown to be improving daily due to the current stay-at-home orders by local government in every state.  What often gets looked over is the air in your home.  Sure the occasional pet smell or open tuna can will cause you to notice and open a window or spray air freshener.  

There are more chemicals and pollutants in your air that go unnoticed until it starts to effect our health.

What is affecting my home’s indoor air quality? The EPA has published a list of common Indoor Air Pollution culprits:

  • Asbestos
  • Biological Pollutants
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO)
  • Formaldehyde
  • Indoor Particulate Matter
  • Stoves, Heaters, Fireplaces and Chimneys
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Although carpet is a traditional choice since it was first introduced to the United States, modern synthetic carpet is not the best choice for our health.  Not only are the VOC’s and formaldehyde introduced into the home through installation, carpet does a great job of trapping the tree pollen, pet hair and skin dander that causes most allergies in the home.

So is a wood floor the best choice for my home?  There are some positives and negatives to any choice for floor covering. You may have heard that pets are hard on wood floors and hardwood floors are a great way to provide the durability pets in the home require. We recommend cleaning your floors often to help with dog allergy as it is often the pet hair and dander that can cause a reaction. Are wood floors hard to clean?  There are many great resources online covering the topic of how to clean wood floors. 

At Albany Woodworks we like to use a variety of wood floor cleaners in the showroom and on the antique heart pine flooring in our family home we built over forty years ago when we started our reclaimed lumber business. Also using felt pads on the bottom of furniture is a great way to prevent scuffing.

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