When it comes to poor air quality and allergy triggers, many of us tend to think of outside triggers such as fire pollution and high pollen levels. However, the concentration of pollutants can actually be two to five times higher inside than outdoors. If you or family have been sneezing or wheezing more than usual at home, indoor pollution and allergy triggers could be to blame. Let’s examine the common culprits below:
- Dust Mites: Dust mites are microscopic insects that feed off human skin flakes. They are among the most common in-home allergens. These tiny bugs thrive in warm, moist environments, which means bedding and soft furniture are often filled with these invisible pests. Although they don’t bite, they can inflame the nasal passages, leading to itchy, watery eyes and nasal congestion.
- Mold: Mold is another common household allergen because it tends to grow in damp, dark places like basements, behind drywall, and in small, poorly ventilated bathrooms. Like dust mites, mold can cause respiratory problems along with dry, itchy skin. Some types of mold, like black mold, are more toxic than others.
- Pollen: Indoor pollen levels can also be higher than you might think, particularly if your family tends to enjoy the outdoors during the spring and summertime, as all that outdoor pollen is easily tracked indoors. Pets can also carry pollen inside, which is why some people mistakenly think they are allergic to dogs when it’s actually the ragweed or another irritant that’s hitching a ride your dog.
- Cockroaches: Homes in southern areas may harbor cockroaches that secrete allergens in their saliva and feces. It’s a common myth that the chemicals used to eradicate cockroaches cause allergic reactions, when in fact the bugs themselves are the culprits.
- Pet Allergies: If your household includes four-legged members, you may be exposed to more allergen triggers than you think. Cats and dogs shed invisible dust and dander particles that can become airborne and travel throughout your home with ease. Even the protein in animal saliva, urine, and feces can cause an allergic reaction in some people.