Our home should be our sanctuary, except if you’re allergic to it. Indoor allergens can be lurking in any room and may be a source for sneezing, congestion and a runny nose in people who are allergyprone. Below are three common allergens found throughout the home and what you can do to reduce your exposure to them.
Dust mites are found in most homes, regardless of how clean they are. They are tiny microscopic relatives of the spider that reside in mattresses, carpet, bedding, curtains and upholstered furniture. Dust mites feed on shed skin flakes from humans and pets, and multiply easily in warm humid places. Exposure to dust mite particles can trigger allergy symptoms in people who are allergic, though they are harmless to anyone else. To reduce dust mite exposure:
- Encase mattresses and pillows in allergen‐proof covers.
- Wash all bedding, blankets and soft toys in very hot water weekly.
- If possible, replace carpets with tiles, timber or linoleum.
- Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
Indoor mould grows in places where there is moisture such as the bathroom, kitchen and basement. Mould releases spores into the air that can cause allergy symptoms when breathed in by people
sensitive to mould. To reduce mould in the home:
- Keep the bathroom well‐ventilated and dry. Install an exhaust fan if necessary.
- Water leaks anywhere in the house need to be repaired as soon as possible.
- Discard piles of papers, books and newspapers as they can absorb moisture and encourage mould growth.
- Keep the fridge drip tray and door seals clean.
Pet dander (skin flakes), saliva and urine can cause problems in allergic people. Contrary to popular belief, their fur is not considered to be a significant allergen, but can collect pollen, dust, mould and other common allergens. To reduce exposure to pet allergens:
- Keep pets outside or at least out of the bedroom and living areas.
- Keep your home well‐ventilated.
- Encase mattresses and bedding with allergen‐proof covers.
- If possible, remove carpets and replace with tiles, linoleum or wood.
For more information, ASCIA website.