Top Three Home Allergens

home allergensMost of us are familiar with outdoor allergens and even hear about pollen counts on the local news. However, many people suffer from indoor allergies as well. For indoor allergy sufferers, the colder months provide little relief from these allergens due to the increased amount of time spent indoors. The sneezing and itching continue, and the allergens can lead to more severe symptoms such as wheezing and respiratory infections. To combat indoor allergens, it’s important to understand where they’re coming from and how to control them to make sure you stay healthier in your home, not only this season but year-round.

The 3 Most Common Home Allergens

#1 Mold

Mold thrives in damp environments. This makes bathrooms, basements, laundry rooms or anywhere with unseen leaks mold’s favorite place to grow. Once mold grows, mold spores are released into your indoor air, contributing to dust and allergy/asthma symptoms.

What You Can Do:

  • If you or a family member has a mold allergy, carpet is not the flooring for your home. Instead, select flooring that dries easily to reduce moisture. Also deter anyone with allergies from spending time in rooms that you know are damper.
  • Check for moisture in typically unseen but susceptible places, such as your home’s foundation and windows. Clean affected surfaces regularly.

#2 Pet Dander

You may think that those allergic to animals that it’s the animal’s hair that is the problem. This is not the case. The allergic reaction comes from the pet dander, which is the animal’s dead skin cells, similar to human dandruff. Animal saliva and other bodily substances also are causes for allergic reactions. There are some breeds that produce less dander than other, but there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic animal.

What You Can Do:

  • Try to keep your pets off the furniture and out of the bedrooms if at all possible. Wash blankets and floors regularly to keep the dander at bay.
  • Use an HVAC air filter specifically for pet dander and replace it regularly. Also make sure your home has proper and efficient ventilation.

#3 Dust Mites

This is one of the most common household allergens. Dust mites are tiny insects that feed on human skin and although they can survive anywhere, they prefer bedding and cloth materials like carpeting. Dust mites don’t bite, rather they themselves and their waste can cause serious respiratory problems.

What You Can Do:

  • Invest in dust an allergy control covers for your bedding and pillows. Wash linens, rugs and any stuffed animals in hot water every week.
  • Consider a HEPA filter for bedrooms and any other rooms those with allergies spend time in. Change your HVAC filter regularly to keep dust mites from circulating through the air in your home.
  • Monitor and adjust the humidity in your home. Relative humidity inside and out contributes to the survival of dust mites in your home. The American Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) reports that dust mites thrive in temperatures of 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 25 degrees Celsius) and like humidity levels of 70 to 80 percent.

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