8 hidden allergens you should know about
There’s no such thing as a “safe place” for people with allergies. While there are definitely more allergens outdoors, there are quite a few inside the house as well. They’re just as potent at triggering an allergic attack. The biggest problem, however, is that these household allergens are hidden, and so they often go unnoticed and affect an allergic patient’s life without their knowledge.
Cleanliness can help counter them, although, before that, it’s important to know these common allergens. Here’s your guide to eight hidden allergens that you must get rid of as soon as possible.
Molds are a type of fungus commonly found in damp areas. Since the bathroom, basement, and kitchen are often moist, they’re the perfect place for molds to grow and reproduce. A leaky pipe or roof is also susceptible to molds, which often go unseen but trigger allergic, hay fever, and asthma symptoms. The only way to prevent the growth of molds is to ensure that there are no leakages in the house. Also, clean the bathroom and kitchen often using a combination of bleach and water solution if you find mold there. Furthermore, it’s advisable not to place any carpeting in places that remain moist as molds can grow under flooring materials as well.
Smoke from cigarettes is an irritant that can aggravate allergies and asthma symptoms. It irritates the airways, making it difficult to breathe. Even passive smoking can be a problem, and so it’s best to avoid smoking indoors. Using a wood-burning stove or fireplace should also be avoided for the same reason.
- Dust mites
Dust mites can’t be prevented, even if your house is cleaned 20 times a day. These microscopic creatures are part of everyday living and can be found on mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpets, and curtains. They produce waste products, which mix with the air you breathe in. The immune system recognizes these products as harmful, although it isn’t, and produces antibodies to deal with it. This triggers allergic symptoms, such as sneezing and runny nose. To reduce the population of dust mites, use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to maintain humidity levels at 50% or lower. Additionally, dust regularly and wash the mattresses, curtains, and pillows once a week in hot water.
- Allergens from outside
Pollens from outside can also lead to trouble indoors. They get mixed with air and trigger allergic symptoms. Laundry that is left to dry outside often carries it indoors, while your pet might also bring in allergens. Keeping the windows shut and washing yourself, or your pet, thoroughly after coming indoors can minimize the risk.
All kinds of fur-bearing pets, including dogs and cats, can trigger allergic reactions in some people. While their dander and fur are commonly behind the problem, their saliva and urine are just as harmful. They get mixed with air after drying and can end up in your body, causing sneezing and itchy eyes. Dogs and cats are the biggest cause of such reactions, with birds less likely to trigger allergic symptoms as compared to others. If the allergies are too severe, keeping the pet away is the only solution. However, if the symptoms are manageable, exercise care by regularly bathing the pet and washing your hands after touching it.
The bed you sleep in is filled with all types of allergens. It is especially rich in dust mites and pet allergens that can worsen allergic and asthma symptoms. To ensure your safety, wash your bedding in hot water every week. Also, don’t let your pets in the bed and protect it with a cover.
A warm climate with plenty of moisture is the perfect environment for cockroaches. They are mostly attracted to food, but that doesn’t mean you’ll find them only in the kitchen. They can loiter anywhere in the house and trigger allergies through droppings and pieces of skin they shed. When dried, these get mixed with indoor air and can find their way into your body. The immune system prepares a response against them, which causes symptoms such as sneezing and a runny nose. To prevent cockroaches from entering, clean up spilled food as soon as possible and ensure that dirty dishes do not sit in the sink for too long.
- Indoor air
It is through the air inside your house that different allergens enter your body. When you breathe in this air, the immune system prepares a response and ends up causing sneezing and coughing. Use a vacuum with a HEPA air filter to cleanse the air inside your house. An air purifier could also do the trick.