Allergy & Air on October 15, 2014 0 Comments We hear it all the time – “My husband is the only person in our household to suffer from indoor allergies, so there must not be anything wrong with our indoor air, he’s obviously just sick.” While common, this thought process is often incorrect. We know how easy it can be to get defensive about changing home furnishings, cleaning habits, and appliances. The fact of the matter is that there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding how your indoor air quality may be affecting your allergies. Let’s take a look at three of the most common allergy myths, so you can have a better idea of what’s in the air that you’re breathing and how to provide relief to anybody that is needlessly suffering from allergies. 1. MYTH: Nobody else at home is allergic, so nothing is wrong with the air in my home. Shop for Dehumidifiers Here FACT: Allergies are very real and are the fifth most common chronic disease in the United States, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI). Allergy symptoms happen when your immune system overreacts to a substance or substances that most people’s immune systems ignore. The immune overreaction can cause any combination of symptoms, including coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and scratchy throat or — more seriously — rash, hives, difficulty breathing, and asthma attacks. If you don’t have a known allergic reaction to a specific substance, food, medication or outdoor allergens, you could be allergic to pet dander; mold or mildew; dust or dust mites, and even urine, saliva or cockroaches. A negative reaction may occur even if no one else is your home are showing similar signs that they too may be allergic. 2. MYTH: My house is clean, so it can’t be the cause of my allergies. Read More About the Dangers of Dust Mites Here FACT: Since you spend the most time breathing the air at home, especially while sleeping, your surroundings are suspect as a possible trigger. Ask yourself the following questions: Could there be dust behind and under beds and furniture, on ceiling fans and on blinds? Do you have carpet, curtains, and fabric furniture? Is there a lot of clutter around and on furniture? Have you seen any cockroaches? Do you have pets? Is there high humidity in your house? Home allergens can be invisible and often have little to do with how clean your home is. According to the ACAAI, the most common allergy caused by dust is when the immune system reacts to proteins in dust mite bodies and feces left on your pillows, mattresses, carpeting, curtains, and upholstered furniture and clutter. Those particles disburse when someone sits, dusts, moves things, vacuums, walks, or disturbs bedding. Plus, dust mites feed and thrive on particles of pet dander and microscopic flakes of human skin. Most people aren’t allergic to the actual hair from their pet, but once it sheds and starts to collect dust, it continues to embolden the dust mite problem that are indeed causing you to have allergy symptoms. Other than dust mites, you could be similarly allergic to parts of cockroaches, too. Dust mites, cockroaches, molds, and mildew all flourish in homes with relative high humidity. If your humidity is too high in your home, you should look into using a dehumidifier to bring it back down to optimal levels. This is not only creating a healthier living environment for you and your family, but also creating an environment that is not favorable for these allergens. 3. MYTH: There’s nothing I can do about the air in my home. Shop for Air Purifiers Here FACT: Your allergies may be caused by breathing the air in your home, especially while sleeping. Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to improve the air quality and reduce allergens in your home. Remove as many allergens from the air as possible: With all these particles fluttering around your home, one of the best ways to fight off allergens is to buy an air purifier that has the ability to filter out the allergens everywhere in your home, throughout the day. There are many types of air purifiers you can buy, but we’d recommend getting one with a HEPA filter for maximum effectiveness. Limit the places where dust mites thrive: By creating an environment that is not favorable to dust mites, you effectively give yourself the best chance at reducing any possible future allergy symptoms. Consinder replacing carpeting, fabric curtains, and upholstery. You can clean hard-surface floors, blinds, and leather furniture with a damp cloth, which can simply be discarded. Doing this traps dust and allergens in the cloth instead of allowing it to fly around in the air. Remove humidity that dust mites need to thrive: Test the humidity in your home with a humidistat. If the humidity is higher than 50 percent, it would be wise to use a dehumidifier to bring the level down to below 40 to 50 percent, the point at which dust mites die, according to the ACAAI. A dehumidifier can also lessen mold and mildew growth that can be a high-humidity home allergy trigger. Kill mites, neutralize pet urine and saliva directly with steam: Use a steam mop with a hand-held attachment for cleaning upholstery and mattresses to kill mites directly with steam, which researchers have found to be highly effective. Hopefully, now that we’ve busted some home air allergy myths and shared solutions to help you eliminate home allergens, every member of your family can breathe a bit easier.