Taking Care of Allergies at Home
Most people with allergies stay home when the pollen or mold count outside is too high. But what happens when your home is the source of your problem?
Plenty of indoor allergens, from dust mites to pet allergens, can trigger a reaction and make you feel miserable. And even if you don’t have allergies, managing indoor allergens can improve your family’s overall health.
The best remedy for indoor allergies starts with identifying the source of your problem and taking steps to remove it. For example, in places where the humidity is too high (more than 50%), a portable dehumidifier can help reduce moisture in the air and control indoor allergens.
In this article, we'll be sharing some tips for controlling and removing indoor allergens to keep your allergies at bay, as well as some signs of an allergy.
What Are Allergens?
Allergens are tiny protein particles that can cause an allergic reaction. You can usually find these in pollen, mold spores, dust mites, pet dander, cockroach droppings, and foods such as peanuts, shellfish, milk, eggs, soybeans, wheat, and corn.
When you come into contact with allergens, either through inhaling, eating, or having them touch your skin, your body reacts by producing antibodies. These chemicals can cause symptoms like sneezing, coughing, wheezing, watery eyes, nasal congestion, itching, hives, and rashes.
In some people, antibodies like histamines can also affect the lungs' airways, which can trigger asthma attacks and cause difficulty breathing.
How to Control Indoor Allergens
Generally, the best way to control indoor allergens is to remove the problem source. However, that’s not always possible or practical.
If you can’t remove the source of your indoor allergies, you can reduce your exposure, lessen your symptoms, and control indoor air quality by keeping your house clean and eliminating sources of common allergens like dust mites and pollen.
The primary sources of indoor allergens include:
- Wall-to-wall carpet
- Soft furniture
- Stuffed toys
- Damp areas
- Indoor plants
- Mattresses without allergy covers
- Pillows and bedding you can’t wash in hot water
How to Get Rid of Allergies Immediately
When you have allergies, you first want to get rid of them as quickly as possible. Here are some actionable tips to eliminate indoor allergies immediately, along with tips to prevent future attacks.
Control Dust Mites
Dust mites are tiny insects that live in house dust and feed on dead skin cells. They are one of the most common indoor allergens, and their feces can trigger allergic reactions.
The best way to control dust mites is to keep your home clean and clutter-free. Focus on areas like carpets, bedding, upholstered furniture, and curtains, which can trap dust mites.
Use High-Quality Air Filters
Airzey’s air filters help alleviate allergies by using advanced nanofiber technology. These filters are designed to capture small particles, such as pollen, pet dander, and dust mites, that can trigger allergy symptoms. With a high-capacity MERV 13 filter, Airzey air filters effectively capture a wide range of particles, including viruses and bacteria, that can be harmful to your family's health. By removing these allergens and contaminants from the air, Airzey air filters can help improve the air quality in your home, making it a safer and more comfortable place for allergy sufferers. With Airzey air filters, you can enjoy clean and healthy air and breathe easily, knowing your family is protected from harmful particles and allergens.
Use Vacuum Cleaner
Vacuum cleaners effectively remove dust mites from carpets, upholstered furniture, mattresses, and pillows. Look for a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter to help reduce dust mite allergen levels.
This particular air filter can trap up to 99.97% of small particles like dust mites, pollen, mold, bacteria, and other airborne allergens and particles that can trigger allergic reactions.
Remove Pet Dander
Most pet owners are aware that their animals can cause allergies, but they may not realize that the dander or dead skin cells are the main culprits. Pet dander is made up of the flakes of skin that animals shed.
If you have a pet, try to keep them out of bedrooms and other areas where people spend a lot of time. Regular baths, grooming, and brushing outside can also help reduce pet dander in your home.
Maintain Clear Air
As much as possible, keep the windows open during the day to allow fresh air to come in and circulate. Doing this will help remove allergens that have built up inside your home.
Using a hygrometer to monitor indoor humidity levels is also an easy way to reduce indoor allergens. Since molds and dust mites thrive in humid environments, keeping the air inside your home dry (humidity should be less than 50%) by using a dehumidifier can reduce allergen levels.
Keep Pets Out of the Bedroom
While removing all pet dander from your home is impossible, you can significantly reduce the amount by keeping your pets out of the bedroom or other surfaces where people sleep. Doing so will help you avoid coming into contact with pet allergens while you sleep and will allow you to get a good night's rest.
Some other steps you can take are closing the bedroom door when you're not home and using a tight-fitting cover such as a plastic wrap or duct tape to seal any air leaks around doors.
Clean Carpets Regularly
Carpets can be a breeding ground for dust mites, so it’s crucial to vacuum and wash them regularly. If possible, try to avoid carpets in areas where people spend a lot of time, such as the living room or bedroom.
Since carpet cleaning products contain chemicals that can irritate sensitive skin, mixing 1 cup baking soda and 2 cups warm water is an excellent natural alternative. Make sure to vacuum the area first before applying the solution with a damp cloth. After 20 minutes, vacuum it again, and repeat the process until the carpet feels soft.
Get Rid of Cockroaches
In most areas, cockroaches are not only a nuisance but also a serious health hazard. These pests carry bacteria that trigger asthma attacks and cause allergic reactions in some people.
Cockroaches usually live in food debris, crumbs, and dirty dishes, so it's best to keep trash cans and other food containers away from countertops. Place leftovers in sealed containers and store them in the refrigerator.
Wash Your Hands Frequently
Aside from preventing the spread of germs, washing your hands frequently can also help reduce indoor allergens.
When you touch surfaces like doorknobs, countertops, light switches, and faucets, you can pick up pollen, mold spores, dust mites, and pet dander, which can then be transferred to your skin. Wipe down these surfaces regularly to help reduce allergens in your home.
Change Pillowcases Every Week
When we sleep, we perspire and shed skin cells, which dust mites love to eat. As a result, our pillows can trap large numbers of dust mites and other allergens.
Make sure to change your pillowcase and bedding at least once a week and wash it in hot water (130°F or above) to kill any dust mites.
Avoid Mold Spores
Mold spores love to grow in damp or humid areas, and they can cause allergic reactions when inhaled. The best way to avoid mold spores is to check for signs of moisture, such as condensation, wet spots, and mustiness. It would help to ventilate wet areas like bathrooms and kitchens to prevent mold growth.
If you find mold in your home, use 5% chlorine bleach to clean the area. Make sure to wear a protective mask to avoid inhaling mold spores while cleaning.
Check for Smoke Odor
While smoke from tobacco products is the most common cause of indoor smoke, other sources, like cooking and heating appliances, can also produce smoke. Always turn off gas appliances when not in use and practice proper ventilation when cooking to avoid indoor smoke.
Signs That You Have an Allergy
While some allergies can be immediately obvious, such as when you start sneezing after coming into contact with a trigger, others may not be so apparent.
Allergies signify that your immune system reacts to a substance irritating your body by producing antibodies. These antibodies then attack the substance, leading to inflammation and swelling.
The most common symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, itching eyes, coughing, wheezing, and breathing difficulties.
- Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest tightness, cough, fatigue, and wheezing.
- Symptoms include Sneezing, red eyes, an itchy nose, and a stuffy head.
- Symptoms include hives, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and difficulty swallowing.
- Symptoms include dry skin, rashes, blisters, and itchiness.
- Symptoms include hives and swollen lips.
- Symptoms include sneezing and itchy eyes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes allergies?
Allergies are caused by the immune system's reaction to a foreign substance; for example, pollen, pet dander, or dust mites. When you come in contact with these allergens, your body produces histamines, which can cause symptoms like sneezing and watery eyes.
Some people are more susceptible to allergies than others, especially if you have a family history. But allergies can also develop over time.
How do I know if my child has allergies?
If your child is constantly rubbing their nose, has watery eyes, or is sneezing more than usual, they may have allergies. Other common signs of allergies in children include coughing, rashes, hives, and swelling. Children who have allergic reactions to foods, pets, or pollen should see their doctor.
Do all children have allergies?
No. Some children may experience allergy symptoms, but only about 10% of them will develop allergies as adults.
Can allergies cause asthma?
Yes, people who have allergies are at greater risk for developing asthma. The same substances that cause allergies may also trigger asthma, called allergy-induced asthma.
Is there anything I can do to help my child’s allergies?
You can do many things to reduce your child’s exposure to allergens. Keep windows closed during the summer months to keep out pollen. Use air conditioners instead of heaters in the winter. Avoid carpeting and use hardwood floors instead. Wash bedding frequently to avoid spreading dust mite droppings. Clean toys regularly to eliminate pet dander. If your child has hay fever, try using a nasal spray with saline solution before going outside.
Does my dog make me sick?
Dogs don't make us sick; they bring us joy. However, some dogs carry germs that can make us ill. It's critical to wash your hands after touching a dog. You should always take precautions to prevent illness.
Are there any ways to control pests around the house?
Pests such as ants, cockroaches, mice, and rats can invade homes and cause health problems. There are several methods to control pest infestations. One approach is to hire a professional exterminator. Another option is to purchase products designed to kill insects.
How can I protect myself against insect bites?
Wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors. Wear light-colored clothing so you can easily spot bugs on yourself. Apply repellent containing DEET (diethyltoluamide) to exposed areas, avoiding broken skin.
Managing allergies can be challenging, but there are ways to control and remove indoor allergens to keep your allergies at bay, especially this allergy season. Dust mites, mold spores, and pet dander are some of the most common indoor allergens, so focus on areas like carpets, bedding, upholstered furniture, curtains, and kitchens when cleaning.
With the tips in this article, you can take control of your allergies and create a more comfortable home for yourself and your family. If you suspect you have an allergy, consult an allergist for proper diagnosis and treatment.