Allergy Triggers in the Home

Allergy Triggers in the Home

Home is supposed to be a comforting oasis especially for hay fever sufferers during spring. However, for people with allergies the home can trigger the same symptoms as pollen. The offender? A combination of dust, mites, mold and pets!

Dust Allergy Symptoms

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Red, itchy or teary eyes
  • Wheezing, coughing, tightness in the chest and shortness of breath
  • Itching


  • Dust mites, sometimes called bed mites, are nasty little critters because they are the most common cause of allergies from house dust. They love warm and humid places and can multiply very quickly. Found in pillows, mattresses, carpeting and upholstered furniture, dust mite particles float into the air when anyone vacuums, walks on a carpet or disturbs bedding. A house does not need to be visibly dirty to trigger a dust mite allergy reaction. The particles are too tiny to be seen and often cannot be removed using normal cleaning procedures. In fact, allergy symptoms often worsen during or immediately after vacuuming, sweeping and dusting because the process of cleaning can stir up dust particles, making them easier to inhale. In addition to allergic rhinitis, dust mite allergy can also trigger asthma and cause eczema to flare.

  • Mice and cockroaches like to make themselves at home on our houses and can be another allergy trigger. Tiny particles from cockroaches and mice are a common component of household dust.

  • Mold is also a culprit! Mold is a fungus that makes spores that float in the air. When people with a mold allergy inhale the spores, it can trigger allergy symptoms. There are many different kinds of mold, some kinds you can see, others you can’t. Mold not only lives on logs and on fallen leaves, it thrives in moist places like bathrooms and kitchens.

  • Pesky pollen can also make its way indoors. Pollen comes from trees, grasses, flowers and weeds. People can be allergic to different types of pollen. For instance, some people are allergic to pollen from only beech trees; others are allergic to pollen from only certain kinds of grasses. Pollen is a common component of household dust and may be the true cause of a dust allergy.

  • We all love our pets but they can cause problems for many allergy suffers in several ways. Their dander (skin flakes), saliva and urine can cause an allergic reaction, especially when combined with household dust. In households with birds, feathers and bird droppings can also become embedded in household dust triggering allergies.

How to manage indoor allergy triggers

  • Bed and bedding. Encase pillows, mattresses and box springs in dust-mite-proof covers. Wash sheets, pillowcases and blankets at least once a week in water heated to at least 54degrees.
  • Flooring. Remove carpeting and use hardwood or linoleum flooring and washable area rugs. If that isn’t an option, use low-pile instead of high-pile carpeting and vacuum weekly with a vacuum cleaner that has a small-particle or high-efficiency particulate air filter. Shampoo the carpet frequently.
  • Curtains and blinds. Use washable curtains made of plain cotton or synthetic fabric. Replace horizontal blinds with washable roller-type shades.
  • Windows. Close windows and rely on air conditioning during pollen season. Clean mould and condensation from window frames and sills. Use double-paned windows if you live in a cold climate.
  • Furnishings. Choose easy-to-clean chairs, dressers and nightstands made of leather, wood, metal or plastic. Avoid upholstered furniture.
  • Pets. Keep pets out of the bedroom, and preferably out of the house. Bathing pets at least once a week may reduce the amount of allergen in the dander they shed.
  • Household humidity. Keep the relative humidity in your home less than 50%
  • Salt therapy of course. Salt is a natural antihistamine, inhaling it can help alleviate allergies and reduce irritation.

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