So, what are people allergic to?
Though everyone’s allergies are unique, here is the list of usual suspects. Understanding which allergens trigger your symptoms is the first step in finding relief for your indoor (also called perennial or year-round) allergies.
Mold & Mildew Allergies
As you probably already know, molds are something you should stay away from. Inhaling or touching them can cause immediate or delayed symptoms, including sneezing and runny nose. Exposure to mold can even affect non-allergic people, irritating the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs.
Mold reproduces through tiny airborne spores. When they land on a wet surface, mold can start to grow indoors. Since mold needs moisture to survive, the trick is to keep your home dry. Places to guard against mold are: basements, bathrooms, shower stalls, refrigerator drip trays, house plants, humidifiers and garbage pails.
Pet Dander Allergies
Animal allergies are very common; however, many people don’t know what triggers the allergy. Most think it’s the fur. The major culprit is the saliva that sticks to the fur when your pet cleans itself. The saliva contains a protein that causes a reaction. Cats can be worse than dogs because they lick themselves more often, and spend more time in the house.
Allergy-causing proteins can also come from your pet’s urine. This explains why some people are allergic to guinea pigs, gerbils and other rodents.
A pet allergy can take more than 2 years to develop, and may not show signs of improvement until 6 months after the animal stops living with you. Pet allergens can remain in carpet and furniture for 4 to 6 weeks, and can linger in the air for months. So before you move into a new house or apartment, find out if a pet has been living there.
Dust Mites Allergies
Even though you can’t see them, depending on where you live in the US, chances are dust mites are all over your house. They thrive in bedding, upholstered furniture, and carpets. These tiny creatures are perhaps the most common cause of perennial allergies and can trigger symptoms similar to pollen allergy. In fact, it’s the proteins in the dust mite droppings that cause the allergic reaction. Tidy up each week by vacuuming and dusting with a damp cloth.
Heat, Humidity and Air Conditioning
You may be helping or hindering your allergen control efforts depending on what comfort systems like heat, humidifiers and air conditioning you use. For one, forced-air heating can billow dust into your home, and you must have the filters cleaned twice a month to keep dust particles down. Air-conditioning on the other hand dehumidifies the air, filters out pollen and discourages cockroaches, which dislike airflow. Crank it up during the summer months, and rely on a dehumidifier when it’s too cold for AC. Keeping excess moisture down helps prevent the spread of mold. That way it can’t take over in enclosed spaces that tend to trap it.
Cockroaches live all over the world, from tropical areas to the coldest spots on earth. Cockroach allergen is believed to derive from feces, saliva, and the bodies of these insects. Cockroach allergen particles are large and settle rapidly on surfaces. They become airborne when the air is stirred by people moving around or by children at play.