Allergens in Your Home

Yep, allergens in your home could be the culprit.  Ever wonder why you’re suddenly experiencing an onslaught of sniffles, teary eyes, or a hacking cough?

Each individual has a unique medical situation handed to them when they come into contact with certain substances. These substances cause their body to stimulate a reaction that is painful in severe cases and mildly discomforting in other cases. Whether it is red skin or itchy eyes, the most likely cause is an allergen.

What are allergens?

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Allergens are substances that are foreign to the body and can cause an allergic reaction in certain people. Allergens are everywhere in the world around us. Examples of common allergens are pollen, foods, and mold.

Some allergens are easy to find, such as dust buildup on a shelf or pollen on a jacket. Others are harder to see and may even linger in the same products that are supposed to eliminate them.

Most people with asthma, hay fever, or other outdoor allergies think of their home as a haven where they can escape their allergies. Unfortunately, houses and apartment buildings harbor their own allergens (agents that cause allergy symptoms). The inside of your home traps allergens, making them impossible to avoid.

Understanding the nature and location of common and indoor sources of allergy is fundamental. The key to managing allergies that are caused by home allergens involves reducing your level of exposure to them or avoiding them entirely, if possible. Keeping your home clean is one of the first steps to getting rid of allergens that might be lurking in your home.

The usual symptoms of indoor allergic reactions are those of many other allergic reactions:

  • Itchy, stuffy nose

  • Clear nasal discharge

  • Itchy, watery, swollen, or bloodshot eyes

  • Sneezing

  • Scratchy, swollen throat

  • Cough

  • Wheezing

  • Tightness in the chest

Reactions to animal allergens may be very mild or quite severe. Symptoms may occur immediately after exposure to the allergen, or they may build gradually for 8-12 hours after exposure or become persistent.

There are a lot of home allergens that we don’t know about. You will only be able to take the necessary precautions properly once you identify the allergen. This article describes some of the most common sources of allergens found inside the home environment.

Allergens in Your Home: Dust Mites

Tiny dust mites are often to blame for allergy symptoms. They're hiding everywhere in your home. Dust builds up on hard surfaces like tabletops, bookshelves, and hardwood floors. Remember that cute and cuddly teddy bear your child loves? It could be harboring millions of dust mites and exacerbating your family's allergies.

Dust mites especially love warm areas and high humidity. That makes soft surfaces where you sit and sleep good hiding spots. They include bedding, carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture. Curtains hide dust mites, too.

Dust mites have "sticky" pads at the ends of their legs that help them to firmly attach to fibers, which allow them to live deep within carpeting, upholstery, and mattresses.

Fortunately, dust mites do not bite, spread disease, or live on humans. To battle a dust mite allergy, vacuum your home often, wash rugs and curtains often, and dust regularly. Run a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air.

Allergens in Your Home: Pets

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For some people, pets trigger allergic reactions. They simply cannot be around animals such as dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters, and other fur-bearing animals without developing uncomfortable symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and asthma.

Contrary to what many people believe, an allergic reaction to an animal is not caused by the animal's hair. Pet allergens are more than just dander and fur. People who are allergic to pets are also allergic to saliva and urine.

You might have to get rid of your pets if your allergies are severe. If you can manage, take steps to reduce pet allergens in your home. Bathe your pet each week. Also, wash your pet's bedding and toys each week. Ask someone else to clean up pet waste. Wash your hands after petting an animal. Keep the animal out of your bedroom.

Allergens in Your Home: Mold

Mold is a type of fungus and can live almost anywhere indoors and outside. Mold reproduces through lightweight spores that travel through the air, which may eventually be breathed in. It's usually harmless in small amounts, but not if you are exposed to mold every day. Your bathroom, basement, and kitchen are just the right spots for mold to grow.

Any damp area and any area where water leaks can have mold. Mold spores are common indoor allergens. Symptoms of hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and asthma can be caused by the inhalation of the spores of molds. They are usually most abundant at night, especially when it is damp, foggy, or during the rainy season.

Outdoor molds thrive in the soil, grass, dead leaves, haystacks, barns, and stables. They are often found in greater concentration when a hedge is located against a house, especially in shady areas. Spores from outdoor fungi typically enter the house through opened windows and doors.

Fix any water leaks or problems in your home right away to prevent mold growth. Run a dehumidifier in your basement and any humid area. Clean it often. Don't put carpeting in areas that get moist or humid.

Make sure there's good airflow in rooms that get a lot of moisture. This includes bathrooms and kitchens. Any time you spot mold, clean it with bleach and water solution.

Tips For Controlling Mold

If you find yourself suffering from a mold allergy, you'll want to address it right away. Here are a few tips for reducing exposure to mold:

  • Make sure humidity is less than 50% and use the air conditioning if needed

  • Use a dehumidifier if you're having trouble with too much humidity in the air

  • Clean regularly with a diluted bleach solution; usually, one part bleach to 10 parts water works well

  • Replace carpet with tile, wood, or laminate flooring if possible

  • If you notice mold on carpets, upholstery, or curtains, have them professionally cleaned

  • Make sure not to overwater plants, as too much water can cause mold growth

  • Watch for any leaks around the sink areas and fix them immediately

  • Use the bathroom fan when you take a shower to minimize the chances of the environment becoming too humid

Allergens in Your Home: Animal Droppings

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One of the best examples is cockroaches! They can creep into any home. Cockroach droppings and pieces of skin they shed can trigger allergies.

Cockroaches are more likely in a cluttered home with a food source. Food left out on countertops or in pantries can attract cockroaches.

Clean up spilled food or crumbs right away to avoid attracting cockroaches and other insects. Don't allow dirty dishes to sit in the sink. Store any open foods in sealed containers. Pick up piles of laundry, newspapers, and other clutter. Seal all cracks and openings into your home.

Allergens in Your Home: Smoke

Tobacco smoke is an irritant. It can worsen allergy symptoms and asthma. It can cause coughing and wheezing. Don't smoke inside your home or car and don't allow other people to smoke inside your home or car. The smoke builds up in your furniture, carpets, and curtains. This will irritate your airways and make other allergies worse.

It's especially harmful to children to be around secondhand smoke. Research shows these children are more likely to get sick. Also, don't use a wood-burning stove or fireplace in your home if you have allergies. This smoke also aggravates airways.

Allergens in Your Home: Pollen

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Unlike dust and mold, which can be present year-round, pollens come indoors during certain seasons, particularly spring and fall. Weeds, trees, and grasses produce natural pollutants at particular times of the year when their tiny flowers discharge billions of pollen particles.

Plant pollens that are carried by the wind cause most allergies. The flowers used in most residential gardens are pollinated by bees, wasps, and other insects, so it is likely that whatever plants are ­causing your allergic reaction is hidden far away.

The telltale symptoms of pollen allergies are ­persistent itchiness and runny mucus in the eyes and nose. Allergies are different from the common cold in that there is no fever and mucus is thin and clear rather than thick and yellow.

Unfortunately, if you have a problem with seasonal pollen, you can't eliminate the offending particles at the source. But you can keep your indoor environment pollen-free by keeping windows closed for the weeks or months when pollen is at its worst, or using an air filter that is specifically designed to remove particles.

Don’t Forget To Clean the Dryer Vent - Call Us Today!

When it comes to cleaning dust, most of us fall victim to the out of sight, out of mind phenomenon. It’s easy to forget that your dryer vent needs cleaning too. In fact, the accumulation of lint might just be the cause of your allergies!

At Southern California Dryer Vent Cleaning, we provide fast and efficient dryer vent cleaning services to keep your home safe and dust-free. We specialize in dryer vent cleaning and only dryer vent cleaning, meaning you know your technicians will be the best of the best in the business.

Call us now to schedule an appointment for your next maintenance session at (951) 290-3105.

Tags: allergens in your home, common household allergens, reduce home allergens, what causes indoor allergies

Allergens in Your Home