What’s In Indoor Air? — 5 Most Common Allergens
If you see seemingly millions of particles in the air when the sun streams in through a window, you may surprised at what’s in your air. Here are 5 of the most frequent allergens found in the normal home.
Dust Mites—These micron sized bugs are invisible to the human eye, but every indoor space has them. They make their homes in dark, moist, warm places and feed on dead flakes of skin both from humans and animals. They are typically found in upholstered pieces of furniture and in bedding.
If you are not sensitive to them you will probably live your whole life without ever knowing they are there. They do not bite. However, if you are allergic to the protein in their feces (which they leave everywhere) you will most probably experience congestion, watering eyes and other allergy symptoms.
Prolonged exposure to this allergen often triggers the onset of asthma particularly in children. The bugs as well as their droppings (yuck) are lightweight and can become airborne with normal activities such as making the bed, plopping down on the sofa, or even plumping the pillows. Since pets shed dander, pet bedding provides an excellent source of food and a haven for these mites as well.
Mold and Mildew Spores—These spores are nature’s way of returning matter to its natural state. They do not become destructive unless they find moisture. It is impossible to keep them from coming indoors, but keeping typically moist areas (under kitchen and bathroom sinks, showers, and basements) dry can prevent their numbers from exploding and triggering allergy and asthma flare ups. Large amounts of mold can cause problems for those who have been previously healthy.
Pollen—These spores are the earth’s way of replenishing trees, flowers, yes and even weeds! Tree pollen can start to fly as early as January, and weed pollen can last as late as November into early December.
These spores can travel on the wind for miles and the can attach to clothing, hair, packages, and pets and easily make their way into indoor air.
Pet Dander—If you’re thinking you don’t have pet dander because you don’t have a pet, sit down before you continue reading. Many homes have dander left from a home that had pets previously.
Hanging your coat, sweater, or bags next to someone who has a dog or cat is often enough to transfer dander from their home to yours. So shaking out your sweater or coat can result in airborne dander, and all your precautions by not having a pet are literally up in the air.
Household Dust—A lot of this stuff can form dust bunnies that hide under the bed or in corners. It is a collection of many particles that are specific to your home. Generally it includes lint from fabrics, small pieces of paper, dirt from the outside, human and pet hair, and in many cases small shaving of metal from door hinges.
If you are doing any work on your interior add drywall and/or plaster dust and you’ve got enough particulates to start a dust storm. So many people are allergic to it because it contains so many allergens all in one place.
Cleaning regularly is a good way to reduce the number of allergens that are available to go airborne. Another pro-active, yet non-invasive way to eliminate particulates is to eliminate them while they are airborne.
High efficiency particle arresting filters are the best type for the job because they can take out particles as small as .3 microns in size. This will drastically reduce the amount available for you to breathe. And breathing easier is a good start to a healthier lifestyle.
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