ASID Illinois Chapter Offers Consumer Tips for Alleviating Allergens in Homes

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With spring arriving this week and allergies sure to follow, the American Society of Interior Designers shares insight into ridding homes of allergens. Tips from interior design professionals include paint and flooring advice, window treatment recommendations and general maintenance and guidelines on this topic.

The Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID-IL) presents several suggestions to consumers that may help alleviate allergens from their homes. An estimated 35 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies, which can lead to uncomfortable symptoms such as eye irritation, nasal congestion and sneezing. The local chapter of professional interior designers offers consumers tips to minimize the presence of these unwelcome airborne allergens within their homes.

"Dust mites and mold are two of the biggest culprits in the indoor environment," said Linda Truckenmiller, ASID, of Hinsdale, Ill.-based Truckenmiller Design Ltd. "After discussing with a health specialist which indoor allergens trigger their symptoms, homeowners can then begin to make some simple, yet critical changes that can positively affect their well-being."

Hilary Sopata, ASID, of Park Ridge, Ill.-based Interior Visions, Inc., suggests eliminating carpeting from a home's interiors is a good start to ensuring dust mites and other allergens are left at the door.

"Carpeting off-gasses VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and can contribute to allergy irritations. They are the newest concern for people with allergic sensitivities. As a designer, I often have to carry pieces of carpeting or area rugs around in my car, and in that enclosed environment I've realized how toxic it really is because it has caused me many headaches," said Sopata.

Interior designers help homeowners make the best choices when it comes to all factors within their interior living space, from wall and floor coverings to paint choices, furnishings and fabrics. They come into constant contact with new products, resources and innovative solutions to design problems. By staying current and updated, designers can guide their clients to the best products to address their particular problem.

Additional advice on alleviating allergens from homes includes:

Window Treatments:

  • Replace dust-collecting drapery with metal or wood blinds, shades and shutters. Although they may become dusty, these materials are easier to clean on a regular basis than fabric treatments.

Flooring:

  • Remove wall-to-wall carpeting and replace with hard-surfaced materials such as hardwood, stone or ceramic.
  • Use throw rugs that can be washed or dry-cleaned regularly. If carpeting must be used, choose one that is very dense and low-piled where contaminants sit on the surface and are easier to remove.

Paint:

  • Select an eco-friendly paint. Thanks, in part, to the green movement, most all of the major paint manufacturers now offer some type of low or no-VOC paint. VOCs present in paint and finishes produce low-levels of toxic emissions released into the air after application.
  • Natural paints are a great option, too, since they are made from natural raw materials such as clay, chalk, natural latex, bees' wax and earth pigments. Sensitivity to these paints are very low.

Cleaning/Maintenance:

  • Weekly, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to clean carpets, rugs, vents and baseboards.
  • Install properly sized exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen to remove mold-causing warm and humid air. Similarly, exhaust dryer to the outside.
  • Incorporate a place for shoe-removal at the main family entrance so dust, bacteria and pollens are not tracked into the house.

More General Advice:

  • Rather than over-stuffed upholstery, consider wood-framed pieces with removable cushions with covers that can be washed or dry-cleaned.
  • To reduce dust mites in the bedroom (where people spend 1/3 of their day and is a haven for dust mites), use allergen-proof covers on comforters, mattresses, box springs and pillows.

ASID's interior design members like Truckenmiller and Sopata devote their careers to creating environments that are safe, eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. To contact a member of the American Society of Interior Designers throughout Illinois, please visit http://www.asidillinois.com.

About the "Find a Designer" Service
The Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers offers a free, convenient, user-friendly online service that consumers and business professionals can use to search for interior designers throughout the state. Find A Designer allows site visitors to preview profiles of ASID-IL designers before contacting them for a project interview. The online service includes easy-to-navigate Web pages, designer profile pages, and the ability to search by location and designer specialty. Consumers have the ability to review as many designer profiles as they'd like and find out more about each designer, as well as view samples of their work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at their convenience. Find A Designer is available at http://www.asidillinois.com.

About ASID
The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) is the oldest and largest professional organization for interior designers in the world. It is a community of people-designers, industry representatives, educators and students committed to interior design. Through education, knowledge-sharing, advocacy, community-building and outreach, the Society strives to advance the interior design profession and, in the process, to demonstrate and celebrate the power of design to positively change people's lives. Its more than 36,000 members engage in a variety of professional programs and activities through a network of 49 chapters throughout the United States and Canada.

ASID interior designers specialize in a wide range of areas. In the commercial sector, its members provide design and consulting services to the office, health care, institutional, hospitality and retail environments. In the residential field, its members provide services ranging from space planning to home office design to customizing a home to meet specific client needs.

The American Society of Interior Designers - Illinois Chapter (ASID-IL) is a non-profit professional association representing the interests of more than 1,600 Illinois interior designers, students and design industry partner members. Its vision is to be the voice of design in Illinois and to provide information through quality, timely communications, to educate its members and clients, and to expand and to support market expansion. The Chapter is lead by a volunteer board that includes the Chapter's president, president-elect, 5 directors and a student representative.

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