Common Indoor Allergens and How to Deal with Them
An allergen is any substance that triggers an abnormally robust immune response
which we refer to as an allergic reaction. Allergies can affect people of all ages and
from all walks of life. A recent survey showed that more than half of the American
population has some form of allergy, usually from allergens that can be found
The problem with indoor allergens is that they can trigger allergies all year long.
Allergic rhinitis, the inflammation of the inside of the nose, is one of the most
prevalent reactions to indoor allergens.
Most Common Indoor Allergens
They are microscopic insect-like pests that feed on the dead human skin cells found
in dust. They don’t bite or burrow into our skin, but their fecal pellets and body
fragments trigger allergic reactions.
They can be found in beds, pillows, curtains, fabrics, carpets – anywhere where
there’s an accumulation of dust. They also thrive where there’s humidity as they
absorb moisture from the air.
The proteins found in dogs, cats, or other pet dander can trigger allergic reactions.
Dander is the dead skin flakes (usually with some fur or feathers) shed by animals.
Beyond the dander, animal saliva and urine can also trigger allergies.
Roaches may be thriving in secret places in our homes and leave their saliva, feces,
and shedding body parts all around the house. These can trigger both asthma and
allergies. Reports reveal that 63% of American homes contain cockroach allergens.
The primary allergen from molds is its spores. Molds grow where there is moisture
and organic matter. You’d typically see mold colonies where there’s water damage
and leaks. They release their microscopic spores into the air, which we then breathe.
Symptoms of Indoor Allergies
People react differently and in varying severities depending on the individuals. Here
are the most common symptoms of an allergic reaction:
- Frequent sneezing
- Stuffy or runny, itchy, and clogged nose
- Red, watery, and irritated eyes
- Itchy throat and palate
- Wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness of chest, coughing
- Raised rash or hives
- Blushing and feeling hot.
Dealing With Indoor Allergens
Remove the dust
Vacuum the fabrics, carpets, beddings, and furniture in your home or office. Invest in
a high-quality vacuum cleaner. Make sure that it has a HEPA filtration system. It must
be sealed well enough that it won’t send dust flying back into the air while in use or
disposing of its content.
When dusting, use a damp rag instead of a dry one. A dry rag will simply move the
dust and throw it into the air, spreading the allergens instead.
Regulate indoor humidity
When there’s high humidity, use a dehumidifier. Since dust mites and molds thrive on
moisture, low humidity may starve most of them off.
On the other hand, dry air during winters can cause dry and irritated nasal passages
and scratchy throats, which can aggravate respiratory problems, including allergies.
As per EPA, the ideal indoor humidity is 30-50%.
Address causes of water damage and molds
Water damage becomes home to molds and pests. Dealing with sources of moisture
such as leaky pipes and clogged gutters can reduce the growth of molds and prevent
roaches and mice.
Aside from ensuring that pests have no easy access to water and moisture, there are
other natural methods to get rid of pests.
Seal off garbage cans, any holes, or entryways into the house. Close the doors and
windows, especially at night. Pests may hide in paper packaging, so leave paper
cartons and bags outside as you bring in only the groceries.
Ultimately, the best way to eliminate pests is to get professionals to implement
Integrated Pest Management.
Identifying Indoor Allergens
The first step into getting rid of allergens is knowing what allergens are present in
your home. This way, they can be eliminated in the best way possible.
Certified IAQ Professionals have both the capability and expertise to allergen test
any home or office for dust mites, cockroaches, animal dander, and more. We can
even identify uncommon causes like chemicals or products that may trigger allergies.
To start finding relief from your constant discomfort, and see if allergens testing is
needed for your home or office, request a free consultation with us at 303-995-7015.