During allergy season, you wonder why your eyes are itchy, your nose stuffy, and your skin inflamed. Certain times of year are tough for those with allergic triggers in their homes, and some of these triggers you might not know about. Nevertheless, they can make your life miserable if you don’t take steps to keep them in check inside your home.
Homes are like mini-ecosystems, with all kinds of things living in and around them. And while pesky invaders, such as mold and dust mites, might not seem like a cause for concern, they could be triggering or worsening your allergies. Let’s look at some allergy triggers lurking in your home that you may not be aware of.
Carpeting feels good against your feet when you walk barefoot through the house, but even the most beautiful wall-to-wall carpeting can hide sinister allergy triggers, including dust mites, mold spores, pet and human dander, and pollen. Even if you vacuum frequently, mites can dig in and cause allergy symptoms. A better move for your health is to replace carpeting with flooring with a hard surface since it’s easier to clean and doesn’t harbor allergens. If you can’t remove your carpet, steam clean it every month or two. Also, consider using a vacuum with a HEPA filter to reduce particles in the air that get spewed around when you vacuum.
Detergents and Soaps
Detergents and soaps might keep your home clean, but most contain fragrances that can aggravate allergy symptoms. For example, the fragrances in laundry detergent can cause contact dermatitis, an itchy skin condition, in people prone to allergies. Contact dermatitis causes red, itchy skin and can be difficult to treat without removing the trigger. Plus, some people react to colorings and preservatives in soaps and detergents. Look for soaps and detergents free of colorings and fragrances to reduce the odds of triggering your allergies.
You might not think of paint as an allergy trigger, but some common varieties contain resins and solvents that release chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air that can trigger allergies. Plus, VOCs aren’t good for your health, even if you don’t have allergies. If your skin encounters certain paints, it can also cause itching and redness. The worst is oil-based paint. A better option is to use latex paint since it’s water-based and contains no oil, but always use it with good ventilation. Some people are allergic to latex but, despite the name, latex paint contains no latex.
Perfumes and Air Fresheners
Of course, you want your home (and you) to smell good, but spraying perfume and air fresheners isn’t the best way to give your home an appealing aroma. Fragrances are a mix of chemicals, some of which can trigger allergy symptoms. Not only are fragrances allergy triggers for some, but they also can be irritating to the eyes and trigger allergy symptoms in those who are susceptible. In fact, there’s a condition called “fragrance sensitivity” that can cause an array of symptoms, including itchy skin, watery eyes, and a runny nose. Plus, manufacturers don’t have to identify the chemicals used in their fragrances, so you don’t know what you’re getting when you spray a bottle of perfume or air freshener.
Bedding is a major allergy trigger for people allergic to dust mites. The pillows you lay your head on and the sheets and quilts you place over you may all be refuges for tiny dust mites that can worsen dust mite allergies and asthma. Don’t fall for the ads for allergy-proof bedding either. Research shows this type of bedding isn’t sufficient to keep dust mite allergies at bay, although it may offer modest benefits. If you use them, combine them with regular dusting, cleaning, and laundering to keep your bedroom as dust and mite free as possible.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, the best way to prevent any allergy or chronic health issue is to identify the environmental triggers that place you at risk. The bottom line is simple: by knowing what’s harmful and acting accordingly, you can make your life easier and potentially reduce your symptoms. Talk to your physician too. Allergy testing can help you identify what your body is allergic to. Plus, your doctor may recommend you take medications to ease your symptoms if they disrupt your life.
ALLERGIC REACTIONS AND ALLERGY TESTING
Allergies are an overreaction of the body’s natural defense system that helps fight infections (immune system). The immune system normally protects the body from viruses and bacteria by producing antibodies to fight them. In an allergic reaction, the immune system starts fighting substances that are usually harmless (such as dust mites, pollen, or a medicine) as though these substances were trying to attack the body. This overreaction can cause a rash, itchy eyes, a runny nose, trouble breathing, nausea, and diarrhea.
An allergic reaction may not occur the first time you are exposed to an allergy-producing substance (allergen). For example, the first time you are stung by a bee, you may have only pain and redness from the sting. If you are stung again, you may have hives or trouble breathing. This is caused by the response of the immune system.
Many people will have some problem with allergies or allergic reactions at some point in their lives. Allergic reactions can range from mild and annoying to sudden and life-threatening. Most allergic reactions are mild, and mild treatment can relieve many of the symptoms. An allergic reaction is more serious when severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) occurs, when allergies cause other problems (such as nosebleeds, ear problems, wheezing, or coughing), or when home treatment doesn’t help.
WHEN SHOULD YOU COME IN TO ACCELERATED URGENT CARE?
When you have a rash that won’t improve with over the counter topical medications or oral medications or other allergic signs or symptoms that won’t improve.
Accelerated Urgent Care also performs Allergy Testing to determine the type of Allergy you have right in the office!
If you have problems swallowing, tongue swelling, shortness of breath, dizziness, feeling like passing out or chest pain call 911 immediately.
WebMD.com. “Allergy-Proof Bedding Not Enough”
“Allergy-proof your home – Mayo Clinic.” 24 Nov. 2020, mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/in-depth/allergy/art-20049365.
“Home Remedies for Allergies: Relieve Allergy Symptoms.” healthline.com/health/home-remedies-for-allergies.