If you thought you could catch an allergy only if you stepped out of your house, think again. There are allergens inside your home, says Gargi Bansod
With the pollution and hygiene levels in our city, it’s no surprise that most people suffer from some allergy or the other. However, most of us think that allergies are triggered off outdoors and that we are safe at home. Unfortunately, our houses too are major breeding grounds for allergens.
Allergies occur when our immune system overreacts to substances (allergens) that are usually harmless. Here are some allergy triggers you should be wary of at home:
Dust: House dust is the main culprit of indoor allergies. Although many substances in dust can trigger allergic symptoms, the most common indoor allergens are dust mites, pet dander, cockroaches and mold.
Mold & mildew: Mold and mildew are prevalent during the monsoon and can cause allergies. They are found in damp places such as bathrooms or kitchens.
Rugs, stuffed animals or books can also contain mold if stored in a damp place.
Pets: Certain people may be allergic to the fur and feathers of their pets and more so to the small scales of skin (dander) that animals shed. Cats have saliva that contains a protein known to cause allergy. Similar reactions can occur with dog saliva exposure too.
Household products: A few people develop allergy-like symptoms to other irritants in the environment, including smoke, fumes from industries or cleaning products, tobacco, powder, and laundry detergents.
Indoor allergic reactions show similar symptoms as that of other allergies such as coughing, difficulty breathing, hives, itching of the nose, eyes, throat or skin, rash, runny nose, sinus pressure, sneezing, watery, swollen or bloodshot eyes and wheezing. If the symptoms of the allergic reaction worsen or do not improve, seek medical help immediately.
The best way to avoid indoor allergies is to stay away from mold and dust. To keep mold away, make sure your bathrooms and furniture are always dry and airy.
Throw away things which have mildew growth on them, especially carpets. During the monsoon, wash bedding and pillows once a week in hot water. Wipe dust with a damp cloth and keep stuffed toys off the beds. And if you’re allergic to animals, avoid keeping pets.