Allergens In the Home: Everything You Need to Know About Indoor Allergies (and How to Stop Them)

Allergens In the Home: Everything You Need to Know About Indoor Allergies (and How to Stop Them)

Twenty-four million people in the world suffer from allergies. About 6 million of them are children.

Indoor allergies can be especially taxing because it’s more difficult to control your environment inside. When you have outdoor allergies, it’s easier to go inside to avoid them.

So what’s the deal with indoor allergies? What are some common allergens in the home and what’s the best way to deal with them?

Let’s explore different ways to manage those allergens and reduce your discomfort.

Allergies Explained

As seen above, allergies are prevalent and are classified as a chronic disease. A chronic illness is a disease that is long-term. Some people grow out of their allergies, but many suffer from them their entire lives.

Allergies are the body’s reaction to a substance, or allergen that the immune system deems foreign and causes an overreaction. The immune system then creates immunoglobulin E, an antibody that attacks the allergens resulting in many different uncomfortable symptoms.

Typical allergies consist of dust, medications or drugs, mold, pets or animals, pollen, and insects.

Symptoms of Allergies

Allergies can display all sorts of different symptoms. These can vary depending mainly on how the person reacts to the allergen.

Some common symptoms are:

  • itchy eyes
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • congestion
  • hives
  • rashes
  • trouble breathing
  • swelling

A severe allergic reaction is anaphylaxis and can be fatal if you do not seek immediate medical attention.

Common Household Allergens

Household allergens can lurk almost anywhere in your home, even when you do your best to have a clean home. Here are some of the most common ones and where you can find them.

Dust

House dust is impossible to escape. It composed of a variety of different substances like food particles, pet dander, insects, and mold. Dust Mites live deep in fabrics and thrive in warm environments like mattresses, carpets, or furniture.

Dust can be found almost anywhere in the home

Mold Spores

Mold grows in warm and wet environments. Once it begins to grow, it produces spores which are airborne, inhaled, and sometimes cause allergic reactions.

You can find mold any places where there are heavy amounts of water usage like the bathroom, kitchen, or other areas with drains. Additionally, water can leak into the home through the foundation, crawlspace or other unsealed locations.

Indoor plants can even exhibit mold, but unless the plant itself produces pollen, the plant itself typically isn’t an allergy problem.

Pets

Pet dander is an extremely widespread allergen. Both dog and cat dander are responsible for about 20% of allergies in the United States. Dander is not the only culprit; pet saliva, urine, and skin also cause allergic reactions.

Cat allergies top the list of the most common pet allergy followed closely by dogs. However, other animal allergies exist such as ones to horses, rodents, and birds.

Cockroaches

Yes, cockroaches can cause allergic reactions. These critters can be found hanging around food and water and are particularly challenging to get rid of.

Their allergens are found in their bodies, such as saliva, digestive enzymes, and other body parts. Cockroaches can be found mostly in kitchens, basements, or other places in the home where there may be food particles.

How to Reduce Allergens in the Home

While reducing allergens in your home seems like an impossible task, if you are diligent and follow a routine, your suffering could diminish drastically. Here are a few ways to manage those allergens.

Clean Air Ducts

Because most allergens are airborne, cleaning your ducts is one way to reduce the amount of dust that travels through your home. If you’ve noticed dust collecting in the vents or that your home constantly seems dusty even with regular dusting, cleaning the ducts could be the answer.

Hiring an Air Duct Cleaning Service is the best way to ensure your air ducts are clean and free of extra dust and particles.

Dust Properly

Even with clean ducts, you’ll still need to manage the everyday dust. Regular dusting cloths tend to fling dust back into the air. Use a slightly damp cloth to wipe away dust and keep it contained.

Vacuuming dust is also an option. Try to clean a few times a week and use a vacuum that has a High-Efficiency Particulate Air or HEPA, which traps 99% of allergens.

Pet Dander

Many people love their pets too much to give them up despite their misery with allergies. To keep your beloved pet and minimize discomfort, vacuum once or twice a week as well as wash your pet once a week. Have a designated space for your pet to keep it contained or from getting dander and hair on furniture or other surfaces around the home.

However, if your allergy is severe enough, it may be worth it to consult your physician on what the best treatment options are.

Managing Mold

Mold can be particularly challenging to eliminate once it’s begun to grow. A mold test will tell you if you have mold in your home.

Stop mold in the first place by using mold-resistance paint in the bathrooms and kitchens, and use fans to dry excess water. Make sure any area that has mold is cleaned thoroughly.

Kick out the Pests

A cockroach can cause so many problems in your home, but cockroaches can bring about allergies in some people. You could try to get rid of them yourself using traps, boric acid, and keeping food at bay in sealed containers and off the counters. But the best way to manage a cockroach problem is to call in a professional exterminator.

Take Control of Your Allergies

Having allergies can interfere dramatically with your quality of life. Once you can identify the allergens in the home, you’ll be able to take action to control your symptoms.

Are you looking for more cleaning tips to help with household allergies? Check out our page to see how we can help!

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