It’s a common notion that rugs and carpets can worsen nasal allergies and increase the risk of asthma attacks. While this may be true for most cases, there’s hope for asthmatic people who love to adorn their homes and workplaces with rugs.

First off, let us try to understand how rugs have gained a bad reputation for allergic people. Airborne allergens are all around us — dust, pollen and microorganisms. After a while, these floating particles may settle on the floor, including the rug or carpet. When people step on the rug, there’s a big chance that the trapped particles get re-suspended in the air and reach the nostrils, thereby triggering a disturbing barrage of allergic reactions.

If you are one of these people and yet you love the look of rugs to beautify your house, here are some tips for choosing the right rug without triggering allergic reactions:

1.  Look for rugs made of fibers that are designed to repel airborne particles and allergens. Examples of these are synthetic blends of nylon and polyester, especially those that were tested not to attract air particulates.

2.  Avoid wool rugs. Molds and other light microorganisms like the feel of wool as a breeding ground.

3.  Avoid shag rugs. Remember that the more woolly your rug material is, the higher is its tendency to trap allergens. In other words, long-strand fibers will be able to attract the air-suspended particles.

4.  Some people may be allergic to certain chemical fumes. Look for a carpet or rug with low volatile organic compound (VOC) content. Ask the seller or manufacturer if they used benzene or formaldehyde to process the rug that you have chosen. If the amount of these materials is high, then these compounds could volatilize and worsen your allergies.

5.  If you already have a carpet or rug in your home and don’t have an opportunity to buy a new one, your best option would be to have your existing rug cleaned more frequently.

[ Photo credit: Al Stevens via Flickr ]

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