Keeping your HVAC system clean if you have eczema

It is the perfect time to update and clean your HVAC system. 

HVAC - or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning may be the cause of your eczema flares. When the HVAC system is not cleaned dust, dirt, pollen, pet dander, and dust mites build up and circulate in your home. These allergens then set into the tiny cracks in your skin and cause eczema flares or itching. 

In addition to eczema clothing, wet wrapping, and using a trusted eczema emollient - the environment plays a major role at controlling eczema flares, especially as the seasons change and more time is spent indoors. Right now is the ideal time to improve the quality of air in your home.

Step 1: Change your air filter

This is fairly inexpensive and you can do it yourself. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends replacing your air filter every 3 months. However, a replacement every other month is preferred for eczema or allergies.

We highly recommend a HEPA filter. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air and removes 99.97% of outdoor triggers from the air entering your home. Each air filter comes with a rating called MERV or minimum efficiency reporting value. The higher the number, the more particles it can trap thus a better quality filter. Typically, a rating of at least 10 is acceptable, but in the case of eczema or allergies, a score of at least 13 is best. 

Step 2: Clean the area surrounding the HVAC

Before it gets too cold, head outside and examine your HVAC unit. Yes, the large outdoor appliance with a fan. Check if there are any leaves, grass, or debris within 2 feet or blocking any vents. As the air outside travels inside things can easily get trapped and suddenly our “fresh” indoor air is not so fresh.  You should spray them down at least once a year.  Use the jet stream to get dust, cobwebs, leaves and dirt. The cleaner they are the more efficient they will operate and the cleaner your air will be entering your home.

Step 3: Clean every register or vent in your home

Replacing the air filter and clearing the outdoor system is no use if the vents and registers inside your home are built up with debris. 

Using a vacuum and dust towel, clean each vent and register in your home. Use a dust towel and a ruler or pencil and clean between each panel to get to the hard to reach areas. 

Step 4: Get a Humidifier 

Cold, dry winter air can be troublesome for eczema sufferers. Low humidity can lead to dry skin or cracking, on the contrary high humidity causes sweating. A humidifier is a great way to get added moisture into your skin. There are endless options at various price ranges, if you need help deciding on the humidifier that best fits your needs, check out this blog

Step 5: Professional Assistance

These easy tips can be effective in general maintenance and upkeep of your HVAC system, but sometimes it is not enough. A technician can professionally clean the air duct system. The cost of this service is not cheap and ranges from $400-$1,000. Keep in mind there is no evidence or guarantee this service will improve eczema symptoms or minimize allergies. Communicate with a trusted physician or dermatologist to see if this or an alternate route is the best for your situation. 

Additional Tips:

  • Since symptoms can easily be triggered by direct contact, do not attempt these cleaning steps if you have eczema or airborne allergies. Your HVAC provider could perform these services, or ask a trusted friend or adult. 
  • If too hot or too cold, do not blast or turn off your HVAC system. This prevents air from circulating and it can quickly become stuffy and lead to an eczema flare.
  • Eczema prefers consistency, major transitions from hot to cold can also be a trigger.

This information is not meant to replace a visit to a physician or a physician’s advice. Always consult your doctor about your medical conditions. The Eczema Relief Store does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any condition.

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