Why Are My Allergies Bothering Me Indoors?
More common than not, people suffer from indoor allergens. As some may see this as inevitable depending on the season, certain allergens in your home can actually be greatly reduced. Side effects to such allergens may include:
· Nasal stuffiness
· Watery eyes
· Runny nose
· Postnasal drip
· Asthma and Allergies
Here’s a list of the four most common indoor allergens:
1. Dust mites
Dust mites are tiny, invisible insects that naturally live indoors. They have sticky pads on the ends of their legs that help them firmly attach to fibers, making them thrive on pillows, blankets, curtains, stuffed animals and deep within carpeting, upholstery, and mattresses. Since dust mites have no way to drink, they absorb moisture out of the air (humidity) with glands on their forelegs. Places with over 60% relative humidity are where dust mites thrive the most.
Mold grows on organic materials like wood, drywall, plywood, carpeting, and leather that have a relative humidity at the surface over 70%. Mold produces airborne spores by the millions that float on air currents. Places where mold grows indoors are places where condensation occurs. Condensation happens when warm moist air touches cooler surfaces such as ducts, cold water pipes, below grade surfaces, and surfaces that are cooled by air conditioning.
Pollen is an allergen that comes from trees and grasses outside. Pollen effects many people in the spring and summer months as flowers and plants are blooming. Pollen can easily find its way into your home through your clothes, hair, and most importantly, any extra air leaking out of your home that is replaced with the same amount of air leaking in.
This may come as a surprise to some, but rodents and cockroaches can give off severe allergens. Such small rodents can easily come in through small gaps and cracks in your home and leave potent urine and droppings while they’re there.
How Can I Reduce the Amount of Allergens in My Home?
Answer: Air Sealing
Most houses have excessive air exchange with the outdoors through small cracks and gaps in their foundation, floors, and walls. These gaps allow any air from the outdoors, whether it be humid, cold, or pollen infused, through to you home. These small gaps are also gateways for rodents and other pests to enter and occupy space in your home.
In the summer, warm humid air from outdoors can leak into your house to replace the air that leaked out. Air sealing your home lowers relative humidity to below 55%, making dust mites dry out and die. Reducing this humidity will also decrease the chances of mold growing, since mold only thrives in moist, humid conditions.
Before any of these allergens find their way in your home, make sure your home is properly air sealed and protected from the outdoor elements.