How to Host Guests With Allergies This Holiday

Posted Monday, November 28th, 2016

Six ways to be considerate of guests with allergies

We all want to be good hosts to our guests. While it might be impressive to fold everyone an origami reindeer, what’s really going to make you a star this season is accommodating your guests’ allergies. It only takes a bit of knowledge and preparation to make this holiday merry and safe for everyone.

1. We’re going to get a Christmas tree (and then wash it).

Pine needles can trigger many different kinds of allergic reactions. The most obvious allergen they carry is pine pollen, as well as various molds, which grow as the trees sit outside. Also, a few people are allergic to the chemical sprays used in farming, or the terpene oils produced by coniferous trees. Trimming the tree isn’t much fun if it leaves people congested with red eyes and a rash.

If you prefer natural greenery, gently spray and wipe the branches with a diluted bleach and water solution before you bring the greenery inside. This should remove any molds, pollen, or pesticides. Since bleach will dull the bright colors of ribbon and artificial flowers, only use water on decorated wreaths and garlands. Christmas trees are often too large to wash entirely by hand. Instead wipe the trunk, the likeliest place for mold, with a bleach and water solution. Then spray it down with a garden hose.

2. Be alert to possible centerpiece catastrophes.

Floral centerpieces can be a real problem for guest with allergies and can also bring on an asthma attack. However, it’s the fragrance, not the pollen, that starts your guests wheezing and sniffing. This kind of reaction is not always a true allergy – just an uncomfortable response to a scent that can irritate the lining of your nose and throat. For an easy fix, you can substitute less strongly scented flowers. Ask your florist to make an arrangement with seasonal but unscented blooms, like holly, or amaryllis.

3. Avoid room fresheners, candles, and potpourri.

Like flowers, the strong scents in candles, room fresheners, and potpourri can inflame the sensitive airways of people with asthma. Some paraffin wax candles may even release carcinogenic chemicals when they burn, according to research done at South Carolina State University. Stick to soybean and beeswax candles, and if the scent it particularly strong, blow them out before guests arrive. Avoid room fresheners and potpourri altogether. And, if you want something for ambiance, burn unscented candles at the table.

4. You may bring more than the ornaments up from the basement.

The places we tend to store our holiday decorations, like attics, garages, and basements, all are prime breeding grounds for mold. When possible, unpack the boxes in a well-ventilated space. Wipe ornaments and artificial plants and greenery with a damp rag sprayed with a color-safe cleaning solution. A small amount of white vinegar mixed with distilled water, or a store-bought green cleaner, should kill any mold spores clinging to last year’s poinsettias.

5. Keep your figgy-pudding free of possible allergens.

It can be difficult to accommodate guests with food allergies, but these can be very serious, even life-threatening. A considerate host will communicate clearly with people ahead of time. Ask your friends to tell you about any allergies, and check whether your planned menu will accommodate their dietary restrictions. If you absolutely can’t avoid serving something that contains an ingredient one of your guests can’t have, set up separate serving areas to avoid cross-contamination, and clearly label the different dishes.

6. Have your air-ducts cleaned before turning on your furnace for the first time.

The weather is turning colder in Michigan, and we may be cranking up the heat to keep our guests warm. However, several months of dander, dust, and mold may have accumulated in our air-ducts since we last turned on the furnace. If your guests are allergic to pets, dustmites, or mildew, they may soon be sneezing and coughing their way through not-so-silent nights. Think about having your air-ducts cleaned before your holiday guests arrive.

Modernistic will have your indoor air clean and allergen-free in no time at all, so that you and your family can have a happy and healthy holiday. Contact us today!

Serving Wyoming, Michigan for 40 years.


Do you want to reduce pet dander in your home?

Posted Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Richland, you want to enjoy your pets without allergies, right?

We understand how much people in Michigan love their pets. But if you, or someone in your household, struggles with asthma or pet-related allergies, owning a pet can be a struggle. Pet dander, in particular, tends to be one of the chief allergens. Try these tips to reduce pet dander in your home so that you and your family can enjoy your pets in comfort.

Make sure there’s not another culprit

If you haven’t yet had yourself tested for allergies, make sure to talk to your doctor. It’s possible you may be allergic to more than your pet, and if you may relieve many of your symptoms by focusing on those allergens as well. You may actually be allergic to a pollen brought in on your pet’s hair. Make sure you don’t blame your pet too quickly!

Keep your pet out of bedrooms and furniture

We know how tempting it is to invite your pet up on your bed. But, if you or your children struggle with pet-related allergies or asthma, it’s best to keep them out of sleeping areas. It also helps to use hypoallergenic bedding, and to use a HEPA filter in the room of any allergy or asthma sufferers.

If you do allow your pet onto the bed or other furniture, frequently wash exposed areas. That includes the bedding, throw rugs, and cushion covers.

Give your pet a weekly bath

Bathing can reduce the dander in a pet’s fur by rinsing out dead skin cells and the allergens connected with them. While bathing your pet on a weekly basis may seem like a commitment, it can significantly mitigate allergy symptoms and lower the risk of an asthma attack. Frequently brushing your pet can also help, but you will want to ask a non-allergic person to handle this task.

Keep pets off the carpet

If you have asthma or allergies, you may have already replaced your carpeting with hard flooring. Carpet collects pet hair, dander, and other allergens. So any large, carpeted areas should be vacuumed daily using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter. However, even a good vacuuming won’t remove everything. Consider bringing in professional carpet cleaners every couple months to remove allergens from the deep areas of your carpet.

Let us help you reduce pet dander in your home

At Modernistic, we understand that you want to live a happy life with your pet. If you need your carpets cleaned to cut down on dander, we can help. We also offer upholstery cleaning services which can help remove dander and other allergens from your furniture. And don’t forget to ask about our allergy relief program, which can cut down on allergens in your carpet and upholstery by up to 90%. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.