Controlling indoor allergens

Controlling indoor allergensSome patients with allergic diseases react to certain substances inside their homes.

The most commonly incremented are related to House Dust Mites, animal dander, cockroaches, & molds.

House dust mites

House dust is composed of many things, including insect debris, debris from small mammals as well as humans, food remnants, fibrous materials from plants, and inorganic substances.

In this dust, a major source of allergy is dust mites. These are microscopic 8-legged organism that feed on human skin scales & debris. The droppings of these mites are the main trigger of allergy and asthma symptoms.

Dust mites are found throughout the house, especially in mattress, but also in bedding, stuffed toys, curtains, carpets, and furniture. They especially thrive in humidity of >95%, & temperature of 18 to 27C. It should be known that meticulous housekeeping does not influence the the mite load.

Measures to reduce dust mites include:

  • Keep humidity below 50% throughout the home by using a dehumidifier or air conditioning.
  • Carpets should be removed as much as possible, especially if it is laid over concrete floors (Hardwood, tile or linoleum is better for people with allergies).
  • Encase mattresses, box springs and pillows in special allergen-proof fabric.
  • Bedding should also be washed weekly in hot water (55°C) and dried in a hot drier (For waterbeds, regularly wash the mattress pad on top of the bed).
  • Weekly vacuuming can help to further remove dust mites. People with allergies should use a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filter or a double bag, since using a standard or water-filtered vacuum cleaner stirs dust up into the air. Allergic individuals should also wear dust masks and leave the room for 30 minutes after cleaning).

Controlling animal dander

Controlling indoor allergensIndividuals do not get allergic to an animal's hair, but rather, to a protein found in the saliva, dander or urine of an animal with fur. These invisible particles are found in the air, and are inhaled by the person . Patients with problem to such substances develop immediate symptoms within minutes after exposure to the animal. For some people, symptoms may build and become most severe eight to 12 hours after they have had contact with the animal.

A cat or dog produces a certain amount of allergen per week, and this amount can vary from animal to animal. All breeds are capable of triggering symptoms and there are no "hypoallergenic" breeds of cats or dogs. People with severe allergies can even experience reactions in public places if dander has been transported on pet owners' clothing.

It has to be remembered that although most people do not own cats at their homes, those animals are abundantly found in public building, malls, mosques, schools, among other places.

Measures to reduce exposure to animal :

  • Remove the pet from the home and avoid any contact. Keeping an animal outdoors is only a partial solution, since homes with pets in the yard still have higher concentrations of animal allergens. Also, bathing dogs or cats on a weekly basis may reduce the amount of allergens that are shed in the home.
  • Use of a HEPA vacuum filter or double bags may help. As with dust mites, the best solution is to have a hardwood floor, tile or linoleum.
  • Replace bedding and carpeting that has animal dander in it. It can take months for fabrics to come clean of allergens, and animal allergens may persist for months inside the house after the animal has been removed.

Controlling cockroaches

Controlling indoor allergensFor cockroaches, a protein in their droppings is a primary trigger of allergy symptoms. They are linked to asthma in children living in densely populated, urban neighborhoods.

Areas where cockroaches could enter the home, include wall cracks, windows, woodwork or floor gaps, outside doors and drains. Cockroaches need water to survive and thrive in high humidity and feel less welcome in a clean, dry house.

Measures to reduce cockroaches include :

  • Have a trained exterminator go through the house when your family is gone to eliminate cockroaches.
  • Make sure to fix and seal all leaky faucets and pipes.
  • Keep food in tight-lidded containers.
  • Vacuum and sweep the floor after meals, and take out garbage frequently.
  • Wash dishes immediately after use in hot, soapy water.
  • Clean under stoves, refrigerators or toasters where loose crumbs can accumulate.
  • Wipe off the stove top and clean other kitchen surfaces and cupboards regularly.

Controlling indoor molds

Indoor molds and mildew grow in areas of the house with increased humidity, such as damp basements and bathroom windows. These molds send out small spores that can trigger allergy symptoms.

These molds are easily eliminated once discovered.

Measures to reduce molds include :

  • Use a cleaning solution containing 5% bleach and a small amount of detergent.
  • If mold or mildew are visible in carpeting or wallpaper, remove these items from the house.
  • Repair and seal leaking roofs or pipes.
  • Never put carpeting on damp floors, and avoid storing clothes, papers or other items in damp areas.
  • Using dehumidifiers in damp basements may be helpful. Here, empty the water in dehumidifiers and clean units regularly to prevent mildew from forming.
  • All rooms, especially basements, bathrooms and kitchens, require ventilation and consistent cleaning .