An asthma patient at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center uses a valved holding chamber device that connects to an inhaler to make it easier for the medication to reach the lungs. FILE PHOTO

Your house is sick; here’s a present to put on your Christmas list

If you’re looking for a holiday gift idea this season, an allergen-reducing air filter might be on the top of some lists.

A new allergy study by the National Institutes of Health, the largest ever conducted, reports over 90 percent of U.S. homes had three or more detectable allergens present, and 73 percent of homes had at least one allergen at elevated levels.

Researchers studied levels of eight common allergens — cat, dog, cockroach, mouse, rat, mold, and two types of dust mite allergens — in the bedrooms of nearly 7,000 U.S. homes.

The highest concentration of allergens in Ohio homes was from dust mites and cats, according to the study.

The findings were released Thursday in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

“Elevated allergen levels can exacerbate symptoms in people who suffer from asthma and allergies, so it is crucial to understand the factors that contribute,” said Darryl Zeldin, senior author and scientific director at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in a statement announcing the findings.

The medical experts at recommend an air filter as a last option after trying other methods of ridding your home of allergens.

The NIH gives the following recommendations:

  • Vacuum carpets and upholstered furniture every week.
  • Wash sheets and blankets in hot water every week.
  • Encase mattresses, pillows, and box springs in allergen-impermeable covers.
  • Lower indoor humidity levels below 50 percent.
  • Remove pets from homes or at least limit their access to bedrooms.
  • Seal entry points and eliminate nesting places for pests, as well as removing their food and water sources.