Which Allergens Impact Your Indoor Air Quality?

Allergies & Asthma

The average person takes between 17,280 and 23,040 breaths per day — 90% of those are typically taken indoors.1 Can you imagine how many allergens and other particles you inhale indoors?

Indoor air quality became an eye-opener when the COVID-19 pandemic began. But, think about all the non-viral allergens and particles in the air that impact your health — pet dander, mold spores, and dust mites are just a few. The next time you’re inside, whether at home, school, work, on public transportation, or at a hotel, consider the allergens you could be breathing in.

Find out where pet dander, mold, and dust mites are found, and how these allergens cause symptoms. If you battle these allergies, a few updates to your cleaning routine and allergy drop immunotherapy may help you start the journey to feeling better long-term.

Pet Allergy

Should I worry about pet/animal allergies?

You don’t have to be snuggled up with a pet to experience pet or animal allergies. In fact, you don’t even have to be near pets to experience symptoms. Work, school, public places — you name it — and there’s a good chance you could run into pet allergens.

More workplaces are welcoming pets into the office causing allergic employees to experience reactions, making it difficult for them to be as productive as usual. Coworkers or classmates carrying pet dander on their clothing can even trigger allergy symptoms in those around them.

What causes pet/animal allergy symptoms?

It’s often thought that animal allergies are caused by pet hair. Animal saliva, urine, and dander (dead skin cells) are the real problems and travel through the air or stick to surfaces.

If you’re highly sensitive to pets, severe reactions could occur within 15 to 30 minutes of breathing in the allergens. But, pet allergens remain prevalent for a long period of time and can cause symptoms months after the saliva, urine, or dander leave the animal. If your sensitivity to pet allergens is low, you might not experience symptoms until several days after being exposed.

How can I reduce pet/animal allergies?

If you experience allergies from pets in your home, there are a few cleaning tips to help keep dander under control and improve your indoor air quality:

  • Vacuum carpeting and furniture regularly
  • Dust with a damp cloth
  • Keep pets out of bedrooms
  • Limit the spaces your pet can occupy (or create pet-friendly zones in your home and restrict the rest)
  • Change clothes after being around animals for long periods of time
  • Bathe your pet weekly
  • Brush your pet outdoors (have someone without allergies do this if possible)
  • Steam clean your carpets regularly or use throw rugs (or consider replacing carpeting with smooth surfaces)

Beware that cleaning your space or brushing your pets can stir up dander, impacting your indoor air quality and triggering your allergies.

If you’re looking for a long-term solution for your pet allergy, personalized allergy drop immunotherapy may be an option. Most animal allergies respond well to the treatment and you may even become symptom-free long term.

Mold Allergy

Where is mold found?

Mold allergies are triggered by molds growing indoors or outdoors.

Indoor mold thrives year round, especially in these areas of the home:

  • Bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • Laundry area
  • Bedroom
  • Basement

Outdoor mold often grows on living, or once living, surfaces:

  • Rotten logs
  • Fallen leaves
  • Compost piles
  • Grasses
  • Grains

Summer through Fall are typically the most problematic months for those with allergies to various outdoor molds.

What causes mold allergy symptoms?

Mold spores are the culprit behind mold allergy. If your immune system is overly sensitive to the spores, your body will react and develop allergy symptoms.

Mold allergy and asthma especially become a problem when mold sources are irritated and spores travel through the air. Mold spores cause allergy symptoms when they enter your nose. When the spores make their way into your lungs, asthma can become a problem, such as allergic asthma.2

We’ve developed a mold allergy guide to help you learn more about the types of mold that may trigger your allergy. Many of them thrive year round.

How can I reduce mold allergy symptoms?

Completely eliminating mold simply isn’t an option. Luckily, we have a few tips for reducing mold and preventing its growth around your home:

  • Fix leaky windows, roofs, and pipes
  • Scrub mold from surfaces (spot test clean the area first)
    • Bleach kills surface mold, but doesn’t reach mold roots in porous surfaces
    • Distilled white vinegar is a great option to kill mold at the root
    • Hydrogen peroxide (concentration of 3% or higher) kills mold on porous and non-porous surfaces
    • Baking Soda mixed with water is a more natural way to kill mold
    • Tee tree oil mixed with water is an option to kill black mold
    • Lemons are a natural mold removal option thanks to their high acidity4
  • Use a dehumidifier to keep humidity levels between 30-50%
  • Ventilate kitchen, laundry, and shower areas
  • Dust books and throw away old ones
  • Replace cardboard storage boxes with plastic bins or totes
  • Clean and dry your space immediately after any flooding

If you’re heading outside, try to avoid damp areas, fallen leaves, and being outdoors at night or when it’s rainy and damp.

Allergy drop immunotherapy for mold allergy is used to reduce your sensitivity to mold and reduce allergic reactions. Your treatment is personalized to the specific types and levels of your mold allergies to safely and effectively build your allergen tolerance.

Dust Mite Allergy

Where do dust mites live?

Microscopic, creepy, crawly dust mites hide everywhere! Dust mites thrive year round, especially in humid rooms where they cling to moisture in the air and then settle in dust or on fabrics — often within minutes. They survive by absorbing moisture from the air and eating dead skin cells found in dust. Once you close your home up for the cooler months, you may notice a spike in dust mite allergy symptoms as you spend more time indoors in close quarters with the critters.3

What causes dust mite allergy symptoms?

Are you battling a “bug?” Well, maybe not the type of bug you’d typically think of, but it may be an allergy to a “bug” — dust mites. Allergic reactions to dust mites occur when you breathe in dust mite waste or their disintegrated bodies.

How can I battle dust mite allergies?

No matter how much cleaning you do, dust mites are likely still living among you. Change up your chore routine and add some deep cleaning to free your space of as many dust mites as possible:

  • Wash all bedding every two weeks in hot water
  • Replace carpeting with linoleum, hardwood, or tile
  • Vacuum carpet and furniture regularly
  • Dust with a damp mop or cloth to reduce stirring the dust up into the air
  • Use a dehumidifier to keep humidity between 30-50%
  • Encase pillows and mattresses in allergy protective covers
  • Bathe your pet weekly and keep pet beds clean

Even with all these cleaning tips, dust mites will still be hiding somewhere in your home. Allergy drops treat dust mite allergy by helping your body build tolerance to dust mites and reduces the reactions you may experience from the pesky dust mites you’re unable to eliminate.

Treat the cause

Whether you’re battling one, two, or all three of these allergens that impact your indoor air quality, allergy drop immunotherapy may be a treatment option for long-lasting results. Providers across the country are trained in the La Crosse Method™ Protocol to help you get started with personalized treatment.

References

  1. How Many Breaths Do You Take Each Day? The Environmental Protection Agency blog. https://blog.epa.gov/2014/04/28/how-many-breaths-do-you-take-each-day/. Updated April 28, 2014. Accessed December 6, 2021.
  2. Mold Allergy. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America website. https://www.aafa.org/mold-allergy/ Updated October 2015. Accessed December 6, 2021.
  3. What are Dust Mites. American Lung Association website. https://www.lung.org/clean-air/at-home/indoor-air-pollutants/dust-mites. Updated April 16, 2021. Accessed December 6, 2021.
  4. Solved! What Kills Mold? Bob Vila website. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/what-kills-mold/. Updated Jul 6, 2021. Accessed December 14, 2021.

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