Generally, cooler months dictate we will spend a greater amount of each day indoors.This fact translates into more exposure to indoor allergens, very relevant if you have indoor allergies and asthma.Very good questions include: "shall I use an air filter, humidifier or do I try and avoid dusting or using a vacuum", if I suspect I may have indoor allergies?
Each fall a change-over from the warmer and humid summer into the cooler and drier air found during the fall occurs each year.Make it an opportunity to look at the ventilation in your home (i.e. forced air heating, central air-conditioning, air filtration, closed windows, etc).Have you noticed more nasal congestion upon arising in the morning, sneezing, cough or red, irritated eyes?If so, you may something in common with the 40 million Americans who suffer with indoor allergies. Indoor allergies can also trigger asthma and be associated with sinus complaints as well.
What are the "most wanted culprits" that are responsible for indoor allergies? Here they come! First, the ubiquitous, indoor house dust mite, a microscopic spider mite that loves to inhabit your mattress and pillows (in fact there are about 2 million mites in bedding). They are probably the most likely indoor allergy allergen that causes allergy symptoms.
Second, molds also may float in the air, like pollens and are present throughout the year. They may be more likely to be present in indoor spaces such as attics, below ground basements and playrooms, bathrooms, from refrigerator drip pans and leaky faucets.In many cases a mildew odor may be a tip off that you have a "mold problem".
Third, pets are found in over 100 million households in the US (a 50/50 spread between cats and dogs, again just an estimate). About 10-15 of individuals with allergies have "pet" allergies.Does the color of cat hair or the gender of your pet dictate whether you may suffer more?Stay tuned for an upcoming blog on pet allergies.
Another additional indoor allergy is duck or goose feather found in bedding and pillows.Remember, get tested as you may not be allergic or bothered at all by feather pillows, so find out for sure! Lastly, cockroach allergy can trigger indoor suffering as well as asthma, especially in apartment complexes in urban areas.They are most likely to inhabit kitchens.
For some terrific strategies to get your home ready if you or a family member has indoor allergies check out the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology at http://aaaai.org/patients/topicofthemonth/1005/or the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology at http://www.acaai.org/public/facts/indoor.htmto learn more about how to reduce exposure and allergic triggers.
Dr. Clifford W. Bassettis an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Long Island College Hospital and on the faculty of NYU School of Medicine.He is the current vice chair for public education committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.