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The Importance of a Healthy Home
We all want to live in a safe environment, to keep ourselves and our families healthy. But to be able to maintain a healthy home, you need to be armed with the facts so you know what you’re up against and what to do about it.
For instance, did you know that …
We spend 90% of our time indoors? 
Allergies are the single most common children’s health issue and the 5th most common chronic disease?  It’s true. In fact:
It’s Not Just Allergens, It’s Bacteria Too
Allergens aren’t the only challenge we face in maintaining a healthy home. Bacteria is another obstacle in our path. It’s been reported that 7 pathogens or types of bacteria – not hundreds or thousands – cause 90% of illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths. 
Do Carpets Help or Hurt?
One little known fact is that carpets, rugs and upholstery act as air filters in the home, trapping allergens and bacteria that would otherwise circulate more freely. These soft furnishings are our healthy allies – sort of unsung heroes – in our home.
There are other surfaces where allergens and bacteria can build up. Over time, dirt, grime and allergens build up in the porous surfaces of your stone, tile and grout flooring and even granite countertops, which can lead to bacteria growth.
How About Our Beloved Pets?
We love them and they’re a big part of our families. Although not all homes own a pet, one study found that 100% of homes in the U.S. have detectable levels of dog and cat dander.  However it got there, on clothes or footwear or some other way, pet dander is everywhere. And what’s even more shocking is the level of pet dander in many homes:
Beyond the dander and the implications for allergy sufferers, pet urine is another pet owner nuisance – and it can also be a health risk. Did you know that pet urine in your carpet, rugs or upholstered furniture can:
More Allergy Facts & Figures
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (aafa.org) defines an allergy as the reaction of your immune system to a foreign substance, called an allergen. An allergen could be something eaten, inhaled into your lungs, injected into your body or touched. Potential symptoms of an allergic reaction include coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny nose and a scratchy throat. Rashes, hives, low blood pressure, breathing trouble, asthma attacks and even death are more severe reactions to allergens. The most common allergic reaction is called allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever. This condition is a general term used to described symptoms that affect the nose. Typical symptoms include:
Common triggers for hay fever include:
There are generally two types of hay fever:
How many people are affected by allergies?
How many people get sick from allergies?
What is the financial impact of allergies?
What are the types of allergies?
Bacteria Facts & Figures
Think your bathroom is the dirtiest place in your home? Research by NSF International in 2011 showed that your kitchen actually has the most germs. NSF International asked families to swab 30 household items to measure contamination levels of the most common forms of bacteria and germs, as well as yeast and mold. Both of these are considered to be triggers for allergic reactions.
Some sobering highlights include:
According to the National Center for Healthy Housing, carpet and rugs account for 65% of floor coverings. 
Carpets accumulate dust and dirt at approximately 5-25 grams per square meter of surface area. 
Carpets and rugs can act as air filters, trapping dirt and allergens and preventing them from circulating freely in the air. That’s in contrast to hard surfaces, on which dirt and dust and other unhealthy particles can settle but are easily stirred back up into the air once there is activity in the room.
A U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) study found that when bedroom floors were at least 50% carpeted, cockroach allergen concentrations were lower than bedrooms with less than 50% carpet. 
The same study found that other allergens were as much as 25% lower on carpeted floors than smooth, hard floors. 
Benefits of Clean Carpets
Regular household cleaning is a simple, inexpensive but effective regimen that helps reduce overall exposure to allergens, dust, bacteria and dander.
It is recommended to use a quality vacuum with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter weekly or at least every other week to pick up surface level dirt, dust and other unhealthy elements and to help maintain your carpet’s ability to act as an effective filter.
Periodic deep cleanings are also recommended, which can get down to the base of the carpet where much of the dirt, allergens and bacteria settle. Seek the services of a qualified professional carpet cleaning company 2-3 times per year. Educate yourself on the options. Some services like traditional steam cleaners use not only soapy water but high pressure, which can soak through to the base of the carpet backing and create a breeding ground for mold, mildew and bacteria. With typical steam cleaning, your carpets often stay wet for 2 or more days, which is also a nuisance for the family. Other services like Chem-Dry use green certified solutions without any soaps or detergents and use far less water, so carpets dry faster – within a couple of hours rather than a couple of days.
Sources Webmd.com Allergy Statistics – http://www.webmd.com/allergies/allergy-statistics  http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/29/health/fight-germs-home-upwave/  American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Allergy Facts. http://acaai.org/news/facts-statistics/allergies  CDC. National Center for Health Statistics.FastStats:Allergies and Hay Fever. 2012. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/allergies.htm. Last Updated 2014.  Jackson K, Howie L, Akinbami L. CDC. Trends in Conditions Among Children: United States, 1997-2011. NCHS Data Brief. No 121. May 2013. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db121.pdf  Schaffer F. National Impact of Allergies. Academy of Allergy and Asthma in Primary Care. http://www.aaapc.us/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/National-Impact-of-Allergies.pdf  NSF International – http://www.nsf.org/consumer-resources/studies-articles/germ-studies/germiest-items-home  National Center for Healthy Housing – http://www.nchh.org/Portals/0/Contents/CarpetsHealthyHomes.pdf Chem-Dry Healthy Home Educational Facts & Figures 02/28/2017  National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) https://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2008/march/allergen.cfm  National Survey of Lead & Allergens in Housing, by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) & U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15241352