Ever wonder if Bees and Butterflies Sneeze? Probably not, but with pollen counts at record breaking levels this spring and summer, I sure have. Plus watery eyes, scratchy throat and congestion. And it’s not just occurring when I’m outside- it’s happening when I’m at home or at the office. This is because the indoor environments that we inhabit harbor potential allergens that trigger indoor allergies. But I’m not the only one…an estimated 50 million Americans are allergic to everything from dust and dander, to mold and mites*.
Identifying the Problem
The five are the most common triggers for indoor allergies:
(*according to WebMD)
Dust: Dust can be made up of dozens of things, including tiny bits of plants, skin, soil, insects, food, fibers, and animal matter. Any one — or more — of these minute substances could trigger indoor allergies.
Dust Mites: As you may have guessed, dust mites thrive on dust. And, dust mite droppings are the most common trigger of allergy and asthma symptoms, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. Although you’ll find dust mites all over the house, they concentrate in areas rich with human dander (dead skin flakes) and high humidity: bedrooms, carpets, bathroom rugs.
Mold: Mold and mildew thrive in high humidity, such as your steamy bathroom or chilly, damp basement. Once they take hold, mold and mildew shed tiny spores — and these spores trigger indoor allergy symptoms.
Pet Dander: If you have pet allergies, you’re not actually allergic to cat or dog hair. Instead, the allergic reaction is caused by a tiny protein in an animal’s saliva. Even homes without pets may contain dander. That’s because pet dander is sticky and light. It clings to clothes, shoes, and hair. Thus, pet dander can be found in boardrooms and classrooms, as well as at home.
Cockroaches: Like dust, roaches can be found almost everywhere. As with pets, it’s not the roach itself that triggers indoor allergies. Instead, the potential allergen is a protein found in the cockroach’s droppings.*
But why do these triggers effect people in their home or office? This is because you, your coworkers and pets carry many of these triggers in with you when you open doors or windows. These triggers are amplified because the air in your home or business recirculates 5-7 times a day through the Air Conditioner and the particulate in the air is distributed throughout your home or business (according to NADCA). Finding ways to reduce these allergens is essential to improving your indoor air quality.
In our next blog post, we will discuss ways to reduce indoor allergens…