November 18, 2019
The air quality inside your house may not be as healthy as you might think it is.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, indoor air quality can be as troublesome as the air outside. Not only does outdoor air pollution seep inside, but there are various scents, chemicals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and allergens such as dust mites, pets, cockroaches and mold that also could be in your home.
If you have been suffering from allergy or asthma symptoms, it could be due to a buildup of these allergens:
Dust mites are tiny bugs that live inside the dust in your home. They usually can be found on furniture, carpet and bedding, and they like warm and humid environments the best. Some people may develop an allergic reaction to them. Most common symptoms are sneezing, a runny nose and itchy or watery eyes. If you develop a persistent cough and trouble breathing, then you may have asthma.
When it comes to pet allergens, it is usually the proteins in a cat or dog's urine, saliva or dander to which people are actually allergic. Like dust mites, pet dander can cling to all the fabric and surfaces in your home. Cluttered areas of the home are generally hotspots for dust mites and pet dander.
Mold growth is a persistent problem in many homes. Be vigilant about eliminating it from your bathrooms, especially around the sinks, showers and toilets, and in basements. Anywhere you may have water leaks or damage are also prime breeding ground for mold spores.
There are more than 1,000 different molds found in U.S. homes, Harvard Health reports. When you find it in your home, be sure to clean it up right away with a combination of bleach and water. A 1:10 ratio is recommended.
While no one wants cockroaches in their home, for some people their presences is not only a nuisance, but also a health hazard. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology warns that the salivia, feces and shedding from cockroaches can cause allergies or asthma. Cockroaches can be found in between 78% and 98% of homes in urban areas, according to the National Pest Management Association.
Your body might be sensitive to certain allergens because "your immune system makes antibodies that identify your particular allergen as something harmful, even though it isn't," according to the Mayo Clinic. Your body then creates an "inflammatory response in your nasal passages or lungs."
Scents, chemicals and VOCs in your home also can impact your health. Common sources of VOCs include new furnitute, mattresses, carpet, as well as cleaning supplies, air fresheners and pesticides. Schedule an appointment with an allergy specialist if you have been experiencing allergy or asthma symptoms.