Common Indoor Allergy Triggers and How to Avoid Them
If you have a drippy nose, watery and itchy eyes and your throat is scratchy and sore, you probably suffer from allergies. And if these symptoms appear whenever you enter your own home, then your allergies are triggered by something indoors. The first step towards dealing with your allergies is recognizing the triggers and trying to eliminate them. Here are some of the most common indoor allergy triggers to look out for and avoid.
Dust mites are microscopic organisms, called arachnids. Their appearance resembles that of small spiders, since they have eight legs as well. They are invisible to the naked eye, they are blind, have eight legs and live indoors. They can’t be eliminated with standard, everyday cleaning, like vacuuming or dusting, and are therefore not indicators that your house is dirty. Their legs allow them to stick themselves to fibers, making carpets and mattresses the perfect place for them to live. They don’t bite or live on human skin, and they aren’t carriers of diseases, but they are very common allergens, and are often found in house dust, along with other substances. They are small and light enough to be airborne, so they’re easy to inhale. Due to the fact they feed on human secretion and skin cells people shed, they thrive in places like pillows, blankets or mattresses, but also stuffed animals, curtains or upholstered furniture. To avoid them, get rid of any unnecessary carpets in your room, wash your bedding at least once a week in hot water, use a dehumidifier to maintain low relative humidity, replace wool or feather items of bedding with the synthetic ones and always use a damp mop for dusting.
Molds are actually fungi that grow on wet surfaces, both indoors and outdoors. They produce spores or seeds which are small, airborne and most abundant in the spring or fall, during the night and especially in the rainy, foggy and damp weather. Inhalation of these spores can cause allergic rhinitis (hay fever). Inside your home, they will thrive in damp places, like bathrooms, shower stalls, cellars, attics, drains or potted plants. You can avoid them by wiping the bathroom walls after taking a bath or a shower, hanging your wet laundry outside, opening the windows and ventilating your home regularly and making sure the humidity inside is low and the air is dry. Improve insulation in your home and invest in an effective air purifier for mold with quality filters, which can remove the mold spores from the air, making breathing easier for you.
Dander is another word for skin shedding of an animal, which is a very potent allergen, more so than animals’ hair or fur. Other than that, you can have an allergic reaction to animals’ saliva or urine. The most common pets you can be allergic to include cats, dogs, rodents and horses. Domesticated cats are the most frequent cause of allergies, due to a protein their sweat glands produce and can be found on their skin, fur and cat dander. When it comes to dogs, their size and the length of their hair are not the issue, since it’s not the hair people are allergic to, but their skin shedding. Bird allergies come down to sensitivity to their feathers and shouldn’t prevent you from eating eggs or meat of ducks, chickens or turkeys. However, consider the filling of your pillows or duvets, since you might react to the feathers in them. Rodents like hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats or mice are quite a frequent choice of pets. Mouse, guinea pig or rat urine is a very strong allergen, as is the fur or saliva of rabbits. To put these allergens under control, you should take certain steps, first of which is to keep your bedroom a pet-free zone. Other than that, you should clean your home very thoroughly and regularly, get a HEPA filter, and be meticulous about your hygiene. Also, consider taking allergy shots or certain medications, but only after consulting your doctor.
These animals are one of the oldest living species in the world, and are very adaptable and resistant. They are also a very powerful allergen, and can cause nasal allergy or even asthma. They thrive in places with sufficient amounts of food and water, such as kitchen areas. However, they sometimes move to other parts of homes, especially children’s bedrooms, since children tend to eat their snacks there, leaving crumbs that attract cockroaches. Their saliva, body parts and fecal matter are what people are usually allergic to, which is a problem since they are tiny enough to become airborne when disturbed by motion and can be inhaled. It’s possible to protect yourself and avoid cockroach allergens by keeping a spotlessly clean kitchen, store your food in airtight containers to keep cockroaches away from it, keep your sink clean and free of dirty dishes, vacuum and clean the floors regularly, or call an expert to exterminate cockroaches from your home altogether.
As with any conditions, it’s essential that you understand exactly what you are allergic to, how to avoid the causes of your allergy and how to deal with its consequences. And if you can’t figure out what triggers your allergy, get tested and start from that.