Indoor Versus Outdoor Allergies
According to a statistic by WebMD, we spend 90 percent of our lives indoors. Since the symptoms of indoor and outdoor allergies are similar, the home is often the least-likely place we think of to contain the culpable sources. In another report, the Environmental Protection Agency states that indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental health risks. Even more alarming is that indoor air may contain a greater number of concentrated pollutants than outdoor air, at estimated levels that are two to five times (and even up to 100 times) more polluted! For this reason alone, it is vital for allergy sufferers to be aware of the harmful allergens that are often hidden in their homes. Here’s a short list of reasons why your allergies may bother you more at home and some actions that you can take to reduce or eliminate these annoying and potentially harmful causes.
The Most Common Causes for Indoor Allergies
In recent findings by WebMD, a statistic shows that 100 percent of homes in America have detectable levels of cat and dog dander. Allergies from pets can develop rapidly, often occurring within minutes of exposure; in other cases, it may occur more gradually, with symptoms presenting over time. The specific allergens from pets are typically dander (dead skin flakes), saliva, and urine; not fur, as is commonly thought, Keeping pets out of the bedroom is one way to help reduce symptoms, as is keeping your animals outside as much as possible. Frequent grooming of your pets is also helpful, and installing linoleum, tile, or wood flooring as an alternative to carpeting may offer some relief as well
2. Dust Mites
Dust mites, so small they are not even visible, are said to be present virtually everywhere. These microscopic creatures can be found throughout your home and are a common cause of asthma and other allergy symptoms. They are found most frequently in bedding, pillows, mattresses, carpets and in other warm environments where they can reproduce. Frequent washing of bed linens, curtains, and pillows in hot water is highly recommended. It is also good to use airtight protective covers for pillows and mattresses to keep dust mites out.
Cockroach infestation most commonly occurs in densely packed urban areas and doesn’t necessarily mean that your home is dirty. They can pose a significant health problem because they carry large amounts of bacteria. The best prevention is to keep them out and remove all food sources that may attract them. They require a means to enter the home, so block all crevices or cracks in the home and also repair any leaks or pipes. Take out the garbage frequently and be sure to clean countertops, floors and other surfaces on a daily basis.
Molds don’t just cause allergies; they can be very harmful if inhaled in large concentrations. Molds and mildews require dampness or moisture to grow, so keeping surfaces of your home clean and dry is the top method for reducing the potential for mold to develop.
Improving the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
If you have allergies, it’s highly advisable to not only take the necessary steps that will help reduce the allergens present on surfaces throughout your home, but also to monitor your indoor air quality (IAQ), which may actually offer the best long-term reduction and elimination of allergens in your home. There are several ways to ensure that your IAQ is optimal, though they are typically tasks that should be handled by an expert. For this reason, you should consult a professional to check all air filtration and conditioning systems to ensure they are at their most efficient and effective levels. Other services that should be performed might include: checking that your air conditioning unit is free of clogged filters, cleaning air conditioner coils, ensuring air ventilators and humidifiers are working at the recommended levels, regular duct cleaning, and even installing high-efficiency filters in your air filtration systems
Reducing the levels of biological indoor pollutants dramatically reduces the likelihood of allergy flare-ups caused by indoor pollutants.