Allergies are a common problem for millions of people. You know the symptoms: itchy eyes and ears, a runny nose, nasal congestion, and possibly even a cough or scratchy throat. You may even watch the local news for daily allergy reports, to help you predict whether you are going to suffer that day. What you may not know is that the actual source of your allergy trouble could be coming from within your own home.
Whereas the more familiar outdoor allergies are caused by various pollens from grasses, weeds, and trees, indoor allergies are triggered by allergens that can be found in every home. The most common indoor allergens come from pets and dust.
Dust is made up of tiny pieces of things such as dead skin, insects, and plants. If you are allergic to anything found in your household dust, you will experience indoor allergy symptoms. The worst things our dust harbors, however, are dust mites. These tiny organisms live in dust and are the number one cause of allergy symptoms. They are a particular problem in areas with high humidity, as they thrive in moisture-rich environments.
If you are allergic to pets, you may be surprised to find out that you are not allergic to animal hair. You are actually allergic to a protein in the animal’s saliva that gets into its hair during self-grooming and creates dander. As this dander is sticky, it can adhere to clothes and shoes and end up tracked into homes that don’t have pets.
Unfortunately, discovering what is triggering your allergies can be tricky. If you always find yourself sneezing and rubbing your eyes when you are near a dog, then you are probably allergic to their dander. But it’s usually not that easy to figure out, and the best advice is to have a chat with your doctor about your symptoms. He or she can perform a simple skin test to try to pinpoint what you are allergic to, so that you.
When it comes to treating your pet and dust allergies, there are many options available. The simplest measure to take is allergen avoidance. Don’t keep pets indoors, or at least keep them out of bedrooms and away from carpeted areas of the home, possible. A great solution is to replace the carpet in your home with a more allergy-friendly floor covering, like tile or wood.
If avoiding the source of the allergy isn’t an option, there are still some things you can do to reduce the allergens in your home. Regular dusting and vacuuming can help keep indoor allergens at bay. Keeping your home’s humidity level low will help with dust mite allergies. You can do this by installing and running vent fans in humidity-prone areas. Running your air conditioner or using a dehumidifier can also lower indoor humidity.
Finally, there are a range of medications you can use to help relieve your symptoms. In addition to over-the-counter antihistamines, your doctor can prescribe more powerful anti-allergy medications that may prove more effective. For the worst sufferers, allergy shots can be a good option.
Allergies can cause you great misery, but knowing your triggers and finding the right allergy treatment can both alleviate and prevent dust and pet allergy symptoms.