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Allergies can turn a gorgeous spring day into a sneeze fest if you're one of millions of people who suffer from spring allergies. Tree pollen, grass pollen, pet dander and mold spores are major offenders as winter eases into spring, and if you're allergic, months of itchy eyes and sneezing await you.

High-Efficiency Air Filters Are Key

By making a few, simple and affordable tweaks to your household HVAC unit, you can say goodbye to the misery that accompanies airborne allergens. Adding a high-efficiency air filter is a solid place to start. The efficiency is measured in MERV, which is an acronym for minimum efficiency reporting value, and the higher the MERV rating on your air filter, the smaller the particles it's capable of filtering out. Filters with ratings of 8 and higher are better for trapping smaller particulates. MERV 11 or above can trap everything from cigarette smoke to pet dander and MERV 13 does a great job catching bacteria and viruses. Filters rated lower than MERV 8 help, but many pesky allergens will still be left circulating throughout your home.

A Clean and Well-Functioning HVAC System Helps Too 

Having your home's heating and cooling unit serviced regularly is vital. Mold spores can grow inside ductwork and around units that aren't regularly cleaned and maintained and it will be pumped throughout your rooms and living areas. It can aggravate spring allergies and contributing to respiratory illness. 

Preventative Measures Make Good Sense

Prevention is also a good course of action when you or someone in your family is battling spring allergies. Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible to keep the air inside your home clean and allergen free. Remove or trim back flowering trees or shrubs that grow near windows or air intakes, and keep last fall's leaves raked up and gone; this will help to lower mold levels outside your home. 

Inside the home, make sure to clean up spills and leaks right away before they have time to damage sub-floors or drywall. These are prime places for invisible mold to grow and thrive. Sweep, dust and vacuum regularly, and keep rugs by doors and entrances to help trap dirt and spores carried into your home on shoes. Your clothes also carry pollen and other allergens inside the house, so make sure jackets and upper layers stay close to the door and wash them frequently.

If you or your loved ones suffer from allergies, a high-efficiency air filter is a must as each season changes into the next. It is easy to install and more affordable than you realize. One simple purchase can drastically impact the quality of life for allergy sufferers. 

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