If you experience itchy, watery eyes, congestion, runny nose, sneezing, wheezing, eczema or a rash, you may be attributing your symptoms to outdoor allergens such as pollen at Aviator Park. However, if you notice your symptoms are just as bad or worse indoors, you’re likely reacting to indoor allergens. Below we review how indoor allergies occur, the most common offenders and how to seek treatment.
How Indoor Allergies Occur
Allergies occur when the immune system mistakes a normally harmless substance – known as an allergen – as a dangerous intruder and attacks. During this attack, the immune system releases antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which signals to your cells to release the chemical histamine. Histamine causes inflammation, increased mucus production and itching.
Common Indoor Allergens
Below are some common indoor allergens.
It’s not actually dust you’re allergic to, but the decaying enzymes found in dust mite feces and their decaying bodies. These particles can easily become airborne and inhaled when disturbed.
Dust mites are microscopic arachnids that are about 1/3 mm in length. The presence of dust mites does not indicate a dirty house; their natural environment is indoor spaces, and vacuuming and dusting does not eliminate them, as they have sticky pads at the ends of their legs that help them attach to fibers deep in carpeting, upholstery and mattresses.
These little critters thrive in warm, humid environments, favoring temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity above 55%.
Another common misconception is that pet hair is to blame for allergies, when it is actually their skin cells, or dander. Allergic reactions can also occur in response to pet saliva and urine.
It is thought that around 20% of North Americans are affected by pet allergies, in particular to cats and dogs. Studies have found that nearly all homes have dog or cat dander, including those of families without pets. Other pets that can cause allergy symptoms include horses, birds and rodents.
Mold spores are another common source of indoor allergies. Mold spores are especially common in bathrooms, cellars, drains, potted plants, closets, attics and crawl spaces. This allergen peaks in spring and fall when it is rainiest.
Treating Indoor Allergens
The best place to start when it comes to developing a treatment plan for indoor allergies is with a board-certified allergist. For more information about indoor allergens or to schedule an appointment with an allergy expert, call Pinnacle ENT Associates today.