If you’ve ever walked into your home during spring or summer only to have a sneezing or coughing fit, chances are, you’ve experienced the side-effects of indoor allergens. Although allergens are everywhere around us whether we’re indoors or outdoors, oftentimes, the issue is worse when we’re inside. This is because allergens typically get trapped within our carpets or upholstery and aren’t able to escape.
An allergen is anything that evokes an allergic reaction in someone when it’s inhaled. This includes things like pollen, foods, mold, dust mites, and more. When these things are inhaled, our body sees them as foreign objects which causes us to sneeze and cough or develop watery eyes or irritated skin. In this blog, we’re going to take a look at some of the most common indoor allergens, why they matter, and what you can do about it.
House dust is by far the most common indoor allergen. Everyone, at one point or another, has gone to take something off the shelf, only for a wave of dust to follow. This usually results in a coughing or sneezing fit. Although dust seems pretty harmless, once you find out what’s in it, you may have a different perspective. Dust is made up of a number of airborne allergens including pollen, fabric fibers, inspect parts, animal dander, human hair and skin, dust mites, and food particles.
It’s not so pleasant, is it? The good news is that our immune systems are pretty well equipped to handle this kind of thing. Although inhaling a large number of allergens could be serious, for the most part, we just experience some irritation in the eyes, skin, throat, and nose.
One of the most common allergy-causing components of dust is dust mites. First discovered in 1964, dust mites are tiny, microscopic arachnids that can’t be seen by the naked eye. Although dust mites don’t bite or carry disease, they are known to be just about anywhere within your home in carpet fibers, upholstery, and mattresses. Since dust mites are so common, their presence doesn’t necessarily indicate that your home is dirty, but getting a deep carpet or rug cleaning will help to reduce their numbers throughout your home.
Since dust mites thrive in temperatures around 65 F to 80 F, and in humid places, homes are often the perfect breeding ground for them. However, even in dry conditions, dust mites find ways to survive. This means that using a dehumidifier typically isn’t a viable option for eliminating them.
If you aren’t completely disgusted already by this topic, you should know that dust mites actually feed on human skin cells. Humans shed around 1.5 grams of skin a day which is a lot of skin for microscopic dust mites to feast on!
How Dust Mites Cause Allergic Reactions
Most commonly, the allergic reaction you’ll have is not to the dust mite itself, but the digestive enzymes found in their feces. Dust mites live for around 30 days, producing about 20 fecal pellets each day and a used mattress can have anywhere between 100,000 and 10 million dust mites living in it — that’s a lot of feces!
Like dust mites, mold prefers warm, humid conditions. Although mold spores are constantly present in the air around us, they typically don’t cause an allergic reaction until they begin to grow on wet surfaces like shower stalls, drains, damp cellars, attics, or crawl spaces. People with mold allergy experience similar symptoms as someone with hay fever such as sneezing, itching, runny nose, and congestion.
Mold is often a huge problem for homeowners after experiencing a flood. Even after water has been cleared out of the home and all signs of water damage have been fixed, there could still be mold lurking behind the walls. This is often the most dangerous type of mold. If you just experienced flooding in your home, you should call a home inspector.
Although the symptoms of seasonal allergies are relatively harmless, albeit difficult to deal with, seasonal allergies can be far more serious for someone with asthma even resulting in asthma attacks. Asthma is a condition that causes someone’s airways to become inflamed and swollen resulting in difficulty breathing. Allergy-induced asthma affects 60 percent of people with asthma, so it’s important that these people pay close attention to pollen count, as well as indoor allergens.
Call A Professional
Unfortunately, simply vacuuming or washing your rugs or carpets is not enough to remove common indoor allergens. And if you own an oriental rug, you’ll need to ensure you take it to a professional rug cleaner so that it doesn’t become damaged. At Fred Remmers Rug Cleaners, we are experts in repairing, cleaning, and restoring oriental rugs. If indoor allergens are a problem in your home, give us a call today.