5 Most Common Household Allergens and How to Avoid Them
Here’s a quick rundown of five of the most common household allergens to help you identify the source and restore the health of your home.
Dust Mites: Thriving in warm, moist climates, these microscopic arachnids are one of the major allergy offenders for people with allergic asthma. In fact, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology reports that in some regions as many as 90 percent of people with allergic asthma suffer from dust-mite sensitivity.
Invisible to the naked eye, dust mites are often found in pillows, carpet, mattresses, and upholstered furniture since they live on dead skin and dander. They don’t bite humans or spread disease, but they are harmful when inhaled since they irritate nasal passages and respiratory tracts. Cleaning with a HEPA vacuum, using mattress and pillow covers, and washing bed linens in high-temperature modes can help relieve your dust mite allergies.
Mold: Like it or not, most mold experts agree that small amounts of mold are present in every home. If left unattended mold can spread quickly, especially in dark, damp areas like basements and bathrooms or even hidden behind wallpaper and within drywall.
Keep an eye out for water stains and leaky appliances, which create a breeding ground for mold. Musty odors are another key indicator that you could have a mold problem. Regular cleaning with mold-eliminating solutions or chemical-free dry steam is ideal for minimizing mold presence in your home.
Pollen: For many people, pollen is a year-round problem and even more aggravating when it makes its way into your home. To keep pollen outside, change clothes and shoes immediately after returning indoors. Wipe pets down when they come back inside, too, as their fur and paws easily track pollen into the house.
Shutting doors and windows also keeps this pesky allergen from settling on your furniture, countertops, floors, and more. Regularly cleaning carpets and surfaces and using a HEPA air purifier removes pollen from your indoor environment.
Insect Biodetritus: Just because an insect is dead doesn’t mean that it is no longer a nuisance, especially for allergy-sufferers. In fact, what insects leave behind can be as much or more harmful. Body parts, saliva, and feces from insects, such as cockroaches, are major allergen sources.
In addition to having your home professionally treated for insects, remove any possible food sources by:
- Keeping food in tightly closed containers
- Washing dishes after eating
- Removing garbage promptly
- Cleaning crumbs and other debris from your table and stove
Fixing leaky faucets and blocking cracks in walls and windows will also deter pests.
Pets: Thinking of adding a pet to your family? If you, your partner, or children have allergies or asthma, bear in mind that pet dander can cause serious allergic reactions. While some allergy-sufferers get symptoms around any pet, many have found ways to live with our four-legged friends.
Choose a pet that produces minimal dander as well as one that you have had safe, reaction-free experiences around. Keep floors, surfaces, and your pet’s bed clean. While snuggling on furniture with your pet sounds cozy, this should be avoided to keep pet dander away from upholstered fabric and sheets.
Still not sure which of these allergens are harming the quality of your indoor air? Try a convenient, do-it-yourself IAQ Testing Kit. These kits test for a wide range of allergens and other indoor air pollutants to give you a better understanding of any IAQ issues that your home may have.
Plus, we are offering 10% off all IAQ Testing Kits (no coupon code needed) through 10/3/2012. With this great offer, now is the perfect time to pinpoint and eliminate the source of your indoor allergy woes.
Have tips for keeping your home comfortable and allergen-free? Tell us about them in the comments!