Allergies are a nightmare. There’s nothing worse than sneezing, coughing, and itching your eyes… over and over again. For more than 17.6 million American adults, pollen is the culprit. However, before you swear off the great outdoors, know that your home is full of hidden triggers.
An allergy involves your immune system. It thinks a substance – like pollen or pet dander – is a “bad guy.” As a result, the body’s immunity overreacts and sparks an allergic reaction. Possible symptoms include sneezing, coughing, itching, swelling, and rashes. In severe cases, a reaction may turn life-threatening anaphylaxis.1 2
In the United States, allergies affect 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children. It’s also currently the fifth most common chronic disease. With these numbers on the rise, there’s a good chance you have at least one allergy.3 If you’re sneezing the day away, it’s easy to blame Mother Nature. But what if the offender is in your own home? Here are five things to look out for.
Watch Out For Allergens In These Things
1. Toys Could Make You Allergic
Dust mites love stuffed animals. The fabric doubles as a cozy home, just like bedding and carpet. Extra points if the environment is warm and humid. If you’re allergic to dust mites, toys may spark a reaction. You can thank their body parts and droppings! 4
Since dust mites feed on the skin that humans shed, regular cleaning is key. Stuffed toys should be washed in hot water once a week. A high temperature of at least 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit will do the trick.5
2. Pets Could Be Spreading Allergens
It might be hard to admit, but your four-legged friend may be the reason behind your allergies. After all, 3 in 10 people with allergies are allergic to cats and dogs. Even hamsters and guinea pigs can cause allergic reactions.6 It’s all because of the proteins in the animal’s urine, saliva, or dander. Plus, pets can carry pollen and dust, which may only worsen symptoms. Finding a new home for your pet is the best move. If this is out of the question, clean and vacuum often.
Don’t let your furry friends into the bedroom, the place where you spend up to half your time. Someone without allergies should brush the pet frequently.7
3. Houseplants Could Have Pesticides
Do you have a green thumb? Know that pollen isn’t the only thing that stems from plants. Mold spores – which are found in the air – can thrive on moist surfaces. This includes soil and pots. To avoid allergic reactions, keep the air moving with fans and windows. Maintaining low humidity will make it hard for mold to grow.8
4. Laundry Could Have A Variety Of Allergens
Laundry is the source of countless allergens. Dirty clothes carry a mix of dust mites, pollen, and pet dander. If wet laundry isn’t dried properly, mold can grow. Even laundry detergent has chemical irritants, another sneaky common allergen.9
If you’re super sensitive to dust mites, pollen, or pet dander, wear a mask while doing laundry. Dry wet garments ASAP, including towels after a shower. Is detergent bothering you? Try soaps that are made with natural ingredients. You can even try making your own with castile soap or soap nuts.
5. Guests Can Trigger Allergic Reactions
Yes, people can trigger allergic reactions. No, it doesn’t mean you’re allergic to them! The clothes on guests may hold pet dander, pollen, or dust mites. They might even leave a trail of fumes from cigarettes smoke or cologne. Instead of banishing people from your home, be honest. Let them know about your allergies. Kindly ask that they don’t smoke or use cologne around you.
Pay attention to your allergies. By noticing hidden allergens, you can avoid symptoms inside and outside.
|↑1||Allergy. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑2, ↑3||Allergy Facts and Figures. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.|
|↑4||Asthma Triggers: Gain Control. United States Environmental Protection Agency.|
|↑5||Dust Mites. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.|
|↑6||Asthma Triggers: Gain Control. United States Environmental Protection Agency.|
|↑7||Pet Allergy: Are You Allergic to Dogs or Cats? Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.|
|↑8, ↑9||Asthma Triggers: Gain Control. United States Environmental Protection Agency.|