Indoor Allergies: Could Your House Be Making You Sick
Do you have indoor allergies? If you answered yes, you are part of the more than 55 percent of Americans who sneeze, cough, and cry their way through allergy season every year. But what if your allergies arent confined to ragweed season? What if, no matter what you do or where you are, you just cant stop sneezing and coughing? What if it is the inside of your house thats making you sick?
How To Help Reduce Mold
You can lessen your allergies with medication, cleaning up moldX mold Parasitic, microscopic fungi that float in the air like pollen. Mold spores are a common trigger for allergies and can be found in damp areas, such as the basement or bathroom, as well as outdoors in grass, leaf piles, hay, mulch or under mushrooms. and preventing it at the source.
Take allergyX allergy An exaggerated response of the immune system to a substance that is ordinarily harmless. medication.
- Keep medicine on hand. AntihistamineX Antihistamine Medication that relieves symptoms of sneezing, itching and runny nose by blocking histamine receptors. products like ClaritinÂ® and antihistamineX antihistamine Medication that relieves symptoms of sneezing, itching and runny nose by blocking histamine receptors. plus decongestantX decongestant Medication that shrinks swollen nasal tissues to relieve symptoms of nasal swelling, congestion and mucus secretion. products like Claritin-DÂ® can be used for both, indoor and outdoor, allergies. ClaritinÂ® provides relief of symptoms triggered by over 200 indoor and outdoor allergens like those from pollenX pollen A fine, powdery substance, typically yellow, consisting of microscopic grains discharged from the male part of a flower called stamens or from the male cone of a tree., animals, mold and dust. Claritin is an antihistamine, so it hinders the cascade triggered by allergens
Maintain low moisture.
Air it out.
Keep your space clean and decluttered.
Have An Allergy Plan And Stick To It
The best way to avoid suffering from itchy, swollen eyes, watery eyes, and other allergy symptoms is to prevent symptoms before they start. Know your allergy triggers and do your best to avoid them. Do you feel better or worse during certain times of the year? Your doctor can perform allergy testing to identify which substances are irritants for you. You may need a combination of oral medications, nasal sprays, eye drops, and shots to control your eye allergy and allergic symptoms. Ask your doctor how best to control your chronic allergy symptoms and what to do if you have an allergic reaction.
Ask whether home remedies, like applying a cool compress over itchy eyes, will help. Discuss plans for how to treat mild and more severe symptoms with the doctor. Ditch the contact lenses when itchy eyes flare up. Stick to glasses. Follow your doctor’s eye care instructions. Stash moisturizing eyedrops on hand at home and work to treat dry eyes when they occur. Protect your eye health by wearing sunglasses outside. You can manage diseases like eye allergies, asthma, eczema, and other conditions with the right plan.
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Clean Your House Regularly
Vacuuming with a HEPA filter at least once a week will also cut down on indoor allergens such as dust mites and pet dander. When dusting around your books and knick-knacks, use a microfiber or electrostatic cloth that will hold the dust instead of just moving it around. While you are dusting and vacuuming, dust will get stirred up in the air so, if you are allergic, use an N95 filter mask while cleaning.
When possible, we recommend avoiding wall-to-wall carpeting, especially in bedrooms. Hardwood floors are easier to clean, simply because you can see the dust when cleaning, however, you can also use washable area rugs to help cut down on allergens.
How Can You Reduce Air Pollution And Improve The Air Quality In Your Home
While air cleaning devices can help, the key is to eliminate sources of irritants that enter the home. The more you improve the air quality in your home which can get accomplished with air-duct cleaning, the more you can reduce allergic reactions and asthma symptoms.
Here are some ways to reduce indoor allergens and improve air quality in your home:
Control Contact with Indoor Pollutants:
Keeping windows and doors shut will help prevent small creatures, outdoor allergens, pollen and mold from entering your home.
Use Plenty of Indoor Ventilation in All Areas of the Home:
Increasing the flow of outdoor air into your home helps flush out unwanted particles.
Keep Surfaces Cleaned to Control Indoor Dust Mites:
Rugs should be washed periodically as well. Replacing drapes with blinds is also helpful in reducing bugs that are attracted to soft surfaces.
Reduce Indoor Humidity:
You can block allergens introduced by dust mites and mold partly by reducing the humidity in your home.
Reduce Harmful Particles with Air Cleaners:
One of the most reliable ways to filter out nearly all allergen particles is with air cleaners that contain HEPA filters.
Hire Residential Air-duct Cleaning Service:
Contact a residential HVAC services specialist to inspect your home for air-duct cleaning. Be sure to compare cost, energy efficiency, and warranties for getting the best air-duct cleaning near you.
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Open Up Windows And Doors While Cleaning
Try propping open windows or even leaving your exterior doors ajarwhen you dust and vacuum. This will create better airflow through a room, which can reduce exposure to indoor allergens, Dr. Parikh says. Then, youre less likely to feel like youre having an allergic reactionduring your cleaning routine.
One caveat/pro tip, per Dr. Parikh: Dont do this during pollen season, as it may exacerbate pollen allergies.
What Are Allergic Conjunctivitis Symptoms
People with eye allergies suffer from redness, itching, burning, and clear discharge. Depending on the type of allergic conjunctivitis a person has, they may exhibit tearing, sensitivity to light, feeling that something is in the eye , puffiness, blurry vision, discomfort wearing contact lenses, swollen eyelids, or produce a thick, mucus discharge may be present. Some people with the condition also have nasal allergies, eczema, or asthma. All of these are allergic diseases.
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Indoor Allergies: First Know The Symptoms
Half the battle of treating indoor allergies is recognizing you have them, says allergist Asriani Chiu, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and medicine , in Wisconsin. Allergy symptoms can be hard to pinpoint because they often mimic cold symptoms. Yet there are differences.
Typical indoor allergy symptoms include:
- A drippy nose with watery, clear secretions
- Symptoms that linger for weeks
Cold symptoms differ in a few crucial ways, including:
- Nasal secretions are discolored
- You have chills and body aches
- Symptoms linger a week or 10 days
It also helps to understand the most common indoor allergy triggers.
Outlook For Allergies Caused By Indoor Allergens
In almost everyone who has an allergic reaction to house dust, symptoms will improve with treatment.
If the allergy is to animal dander, removal of the animal will result in gradual disappearance of symptoms.
- You may notice significant improvement in 2-3 weeks, but it may take 6 months or longer for your symptoms to resolve.
- The vast majority of people with animal dander allergy are able to avoid uncomfortable allergic symptoms simply by avoiding the animal sources of their allergens.
- Unfortunately, this sometimes means avoiding the homes of friends with pets and public places where animals go.
- With so many dogs, cats, and other pets in our world, you are bound to be exposed to dander occasionally.
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How To Reduce Indoor Allergens
A lot of people with allergies think that if they just stay indoors when the pollen counts are high, they can keep their spring allergy symptoms under control. But indoor allergens, particularly dust, can also cause nasal allergy symptoms, including nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itchy nose, and itchy, watery eyes.1
Thats why its a good idea to give your home a thorough, dust-busting spring cleaning once the weather gets warmer. Indoor allergens typically include triggers like dust mites, mold, and pet dander, which tend to collect and thrive in the homehowever it can also include pollen and all types of outdoor allergens that are tracked in from outside. These often settle onto furniture and floor surfaces.
But before you get out your dust mop, stop and review our clean smarter tips for clearing the air. Because if you dont clean the right way, you run the risk of making your dust allergy worse.1
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Finding Relief From Seasonal Allergies
Changing seasons bring a wide range of symptoms for allergy sufferers. Learn what you need to know about relieving your seasonal allergy symptoms.
The transition between seasons can be a welcome change of scenery. For many people, though, the weather and foliage is not the only major change that comes from shifting from summer to fall. For some, sniffling, sneezing and watery eyes may accompany them as well.
Seasonal allergies are the bodys reaction to airborne substances. Not everyone experiences seasonal allergies, but for those who do, the symptoms can be as predictable as April showers and May flowers.
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Whether youre a long time allergy sufferer or finding yourself new to the seasonal sniffles, , an allergy and immunology specialist at Michigan Medicine, offers answers to some frequently asked questions about seasonal allergies.
What makes spring so beautiful for many people leads to misery for those who suffer from seasonal allergy symptoms. Fresh-cut grass, blooming trees and flowers, and weeds release pollen, causing seasonal allergies in an estimated 40 million to 60 million people each year, or up to 20 percent of people living in certain countries.
Treating hay fever symptoms can reduce asthma-related hospitalizations and emergencies.
Tips For Preventing Indoor Allergies
How to make your home a getaway from allergies.
Allergy season is in full-swing, and every week our bodies seem to be taken down with new symptoms coinciding with the emergence of more and more foliage and pollen. I love/hate you, spring! Thinking ahead, and treating the inside of your home like a sanctuary is where your allergy-prevention program should start. Refer here to see a more complete list of tips for combating seasonal allergies, indoors and out.
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Use Humidity Controllers And Air Purifiers
Finding the right level of humidity in your house is important. Allergen particles, such as animal dander, are more likely to fly around if theres too little moisture. Too much moisture, and you could have a problem with mold and mildew, says Jerry Shier, MD, an allergist at the Asthma and Allergy Center in Rockville and Silver Spring, Md. Depending on the conditions inside your home, use either a humidifier or a dehumidifier as needed to keep the humidity at about 40 percent. During warmer months, run your air conditioner, which will also help control mold and dust mites by reducing humidity. Air purifiers may not be as effective in reducing allergens in the air as other management methods, but if you do use one, try an air purifier with a HEPA filter.
Avoid Outdoor Allergy Triggers
Do your symptoms act up in the spring or summer? You may have seasonal eye allergies. Pollen from grass, weeds, and trees may trigger your eye allergy symptoms. Monitor pollen counts and stay indoors when they are high outside, if possible. Close the windows and run the air conditioner to help filter the air. Pollen counts tend to be the highest in the early evening and mid-morning when winds are most active. If you must be outside, wear sunglasses to minimize contact with allergens. Do not use window fans. These can draw irritants from outside and deliver them into your home and make eyes itchy.
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Your First Step For Mold Dander And Dust Allergy Relief
Before you start seeking treatment, it helps to identify your triggers and symptoms. Inside of the home, allergies can be triggered by a variety of stimuli. Surface-borne allergens are much more common than those found in the airthe likely culprits include dust mites, pet dander and mold.
Because these triggers can exist year-round in the home, your symptoms are less likely to fluctuate like seasonal allergies. And if you spend quite a bit of time at home, your indoor allergies can become a real burden on your life year-round. You may find winter to be a particularly difficult season, as youre likely spending more time indoors with frequent exposure to your allergens.
Some tell-tale signs and symptoms of indoor allergies include:
- Runny nose or congestion*
What About Allergies To Pets
The “dander,” or skin shedding, of an animal is more potent in causing allergic reactions than the animal’s fur or hair. In addition to the skin sheddings and fur, allergic reactions can occur to the saliva and/or urine of cats, dogs, horses, and rodents.
The scope of the animal allergy problem is enormous. These allergies are believed to affect up to 20% of North Americans and are directly related to the increasing popularity of pets, particularly cats and dogs. Studies have shown that dog allergens were found in all examined homes in the U.S., even those without family dogs. Likewise, almost all homes were shown to contain cat allergens.
The most well-known indoor allergy is probably due to Felis domesticus, the domesticated cat. The main allergen is a protein that is produced by the sweat glands in the skin and appears in the skin flakes or dander that are shed from cats. The allergen is also found to a lesser degree in the fur, saliva, and urine of cats. Even with a past history of tolerance to cats, it is possible for a person with an allergic tendency to develop a sensitivity to cats after constant exposure.
- An estimated 30% of households in North America have at least one cat.
- About 6% of the U.S. population is allergic to cats.
Remember that a trip to the barn not only exposes you to animal dander, but also to mold, pollen, and lots of other irritants as well. If you suffer from asthma, be careful and be prepared.
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Clean Your Shower Head To Eliminate Mold Growth And Spores
Showerheads should be cleaned weekly and soaked once a month. This will reduce bacteria and mold buildup. The showers hot, humid environment makes the showerhead a perfect breeding ground for mold and other germs that then get sprayed onto your hair and body in the shower. When you clean the showerhead regularly, youll reduce this problem.
Allergies plague millions of people. Take a few steps to safeguard the interior of your home and you will reduce many common allergens and take better control of your indoor allergies.
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When To Get Tested For Allergies
If youâre suffering from allergies, itâs important to get to the root of the problem to help prevent reactions in the future. A simple, at-home indoor and outdoor allergy test may help you pinpoint the source of your allergy symptoms and find a solution quicker.
Unmanageable symptoms like chronic sinus infections, nasal congestion, difficulting breathing, fevers, drowsiness, or any interference with day-to-day activities are signs that you should see an allergist, your general physician, and/or take an allergy test.
If youâre unsure about whether youâre experiencing allergy symptoms or suffering from a common cold or illness, itâs helpful to keep track of your symptoms daily. You can track when they occur, what you did that day, and how the symptoms make you feel. Below, youâll find an allergy tracking chart that you can use to help identify the source of your allergies.
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How Can I Get Relief From Spring Allergies
One of the best ways to manage your spring allergy symptoms is to see a board-certified allergist. An allergist can help you come up with a plan to treat your allergies.
Your allergy treatment plan may involve:
- Taking allergy medicines, like antihistamines, before your allergy season begins
- Using a nasal corticosteroid sprays
- An immunotherapy option for your type of allergy
Check pollen counts at the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology so you can avoid outdoor activities on days when counts are high. You can also check pollen forecasts on Pollen.com.
Also, follow these tips to control pollen in your home and prevent bringing it into your home when after you spend time outside:
- Keep windows closed.
- Use central air conditioning with a CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendlyÂ® HVAC filter, if possible.
- Remove your shoes before entering your home.
- Take a shower and shampoo your hair before bed.
- Change and wash your clothes after being outdoor.
- Dry laundry in a clothes dryer or on an indoor rack, not on an outdoor line.
- Clean pollen off pets with a towel before they come in your home.
- Wash bedding in hot, soapy water once a week.
- Use a nasal rinse to flush out inhaled pollen out of your nose.
To reduce your exposure to pollen when you are outside:
You dont have to dread spring allergies. With the right treatment, you can manage your spring allergies and still enjoy the season.
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