Allergies are a common health problem that affects millions of people worldwide. It could result from different things, especially because no two allergies are alike. Moreover, considering that over 50 million people live with varied allergies and symptoms, it is vital to learn the many causes. Studies have shown that indoor air contains many allergens, often proving difficult to eliminate. However, knowing where some of these allergens could hide in your home can help you eliminate them and protect your family from such allergies.
- Carpets and rugs
According to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report, indoor air pollution can be up to five times higher than outdoor air pollution. Even more concerning is that carpets and rugs are one of the primary sources of indoor air pollution. Carpets and rugs are popular in many homes because they add a comfy feel and enhance the overall appearance of a room. Unfortunately, they are notorious for trapping allergens like dust mites, pet dander, and pollen, which can trigger allergic reactions such as sneezing, coughing, and itchy eyes. You can reduce allergens in carpets and rugs by vacuuming regularly with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Also, consider steam cleaning your carpets and rugs every six months to remove deep-seated dirt and allergens. If you have severe allergies, removing carpets and rugs and replacing them with hardwood or tiled floors may be advisable.
- The kitchen and the vents
The kitchen is another common hiding place for allergens, including food allergens such as peanuts, milk, and eggs. Food allergies affect 32 million Americans, and the kitchen can be a source of exposure. For example, cross-contamination can occur when using utensils and cooking surfaces that have come in contact with allergenic foods. Therefore, to reduce the risk of food allergen exposure in the kitchen, designate specific utensils and cookware for allergenic foods and use them exclusively. Also, consider using separate cutting boards for allergenic foods and opt for disposable gloves when handling them. Remember to clean your kitchen surfaces regularly with soap and water to remove allergenic residues. Another area of concern is the vent, which accumulates allergens. Home vent cleaning will be beneficial at this stage.
- Your bedding
Your bed can provide a haven for dust mites, a common allergen that thrives in warm, humid environments like bedding. Dust mites can cause allergies, asthma, and eczema. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, dust mites are present in 4 of 5 American homes. It is advisable to wash your sheets, pillowcases, and blankets weekly in hot water (130°F or higher) to eliminate these in your bedding. Also, use dust-proof covers for pillows, mattresses, and box springs to prevent dust mites from accumulating in these areas. Additionally, replace older bedding materials with hypoallergenic options designed to reduce allergens and improve air quality.
Identifying which spots in your home breed the most allergens will help you take proactive steps to control them. The places listed above are a good place to start.