pollen in the home

Allergies within the home: indoor allergy triggers + solutions

Allergies are becoming increasingly commonplace and around 44% of adults in the UK have at least one allergy.

Some of these allergies might actually be caused within the home.

In this blog post I will take a look at what might be causing your indoor allergy symptoms and what you can do about it.

What could be causing allergies in my house

What could be causing allergies in my house?

If you only have allergy symptoms within your home then it could be a house dust mite allergy.

A dust mite allergy is caused due to an allergic reaction to the waste caused by house dust mites. 

Dust mites might be present in your bedding and cause an issue at night time or make you very tired in the morning.

They aren’t only in beds though.  You can find dust mites on carpets, soft toys and soft furnishings.

It’s not the dust mites themselves that cause an allergy, but their faeces and shed skin.

What are the symptoms of dust mite allergy?

Like with hayfever and colds, dust mite allergy can cause the following symptoms:

  • blocked or runny nose
  • itchy or watery eyes
  • headaches
  • sore throats
  • tiredness in the morning
  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • skin reactions
  • breathing issues

If you have asthma then you are more likely to suffer with a dust mite allergy.

To see if your symptoms might be an allergic reaction, you can take an at-home allergy test.

What could be causing allergies in my house

What else can cause allergies in the home?

There may be some other causes of your allergy symptoms within the home:

  • Pet allergy –  If you have a pet allergy then you may find your symptoms are worse in your home if you have a pet.  This is due to the animal dander collecting indoors.
  • Mold allergy – spores of mold can trigger an allergy.
  • House dust – a mixture of components which can cause allergies.
  • Pollen – it can get indoors too and trigger your hayfever allergy.

How do I get rid of allergens in my home?

It can be hard to get rid of all the allergens in a home, but getting rid of carpets and opting for a hard floor which can easily be cleaned is one solution.  Make sure you regularly vacuum the hard floors to keep dust and allergens at bay. 

Ultimately, keep dust at bay by dusting regularly and using a damp cloth or cloth with spray to dust surfaces, rather than simply spreading it around with a duster.

Change bedding regularly, use protective dust proof covers, vacuum the mattress and wash bedding at 60 degrees Celsius.

Dust mites like humid environments, so consider a dehumidifier if you have a particularly humid house.  A dehumidifier will also tackle any mould issues and help relieve a mould allergy.

What could be causing allergies in my house

You can also use HEPA filters which must remove 99.97% of particles larger than 0.3 micrometres which will capture dust mites and trap their waste.  These filters can be used in your vacuum and on any air conditioning units you have at home.

Check out these tips to improve indoor air quality.  We spend 90% of our time indoors nowadays according to Allergy UK and we require good indoor air quality for optimal human health, including preventing allergies and reducing symptoms.

The Mayo Clinic also has an extensive guide on how to allergy-proof your home.

Managing mold

Mold, a common allergen found in many households, can be a significant culprit behind allergy symptoms. It thrives in damp and humid environments, such as bathrooms, basements, and areas with water leaks. Understanding the causes and effects of mold can help you mitigate its presence and reduce allergic reactions.

mold infestation

One of the main causes of mold growth is excessive moisture. Moisture can accumulate due to poor ventilation, plumbing leaks, or water intrusion from outside sources. When left untreated, these damp conditions create an ideal breeding ground for mold spores to flourish. Once mold spores are released into the air, they can trigger allergic reactions in susceptible individuals.

Identifying mold growth in your house is crucial for effective remediation. Keep an eye out for visible signs of mold, such as dark spots on walls, ceilings, or other surfaces. Musty odors may also indicate the presence of hidden mold. Remember that mold can thrive in hidden areas, such as behind wallpaper, under carpets, or within HVAC systems, so it’s important to inspect these spaces too.

To naturally combat mold and alleviate allergies, it’s essential to address the underlying moisture issue. Ensure proper ventilation in areas prone to dampness, such as bathrooms and kitchens, by using exhaust fans or opening windows. Fix any plumbing leaks promptly and address any water intrusion problems, such as leaks in the roof or foundation.

Cleaning and mold removal can be done using natural methods. For small areas affected by mold growth, a mixture of vinegar and water can be an effective solution. Apply this mixture to the affected area and scrub gently with a brush. For larger or more stubborn mold infestations, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance to ensure thorough removal.

Prevention is key when it comes to mold allergies. Regularly clean and dry areas prone to moisture, such as bathrooms and basements. Use a dehumidifier in damp spaces to control humidity levels. Additionally, keeping indoor plants to a minimum can help reduce mold spores as plants release moisture into the air.

By addressing the presence of mold and taking preventive measures, you can create a healthier and allergy-friendly environment in your home.

Managing pollen inside the home

Pollen, the microscopic grains produced by flowering plants, is a common allergen that can easily find its way indoors and trigger hay fever allergies. While many people associate hay fever with outdoor allergens, such as grasses, trees, and weeds, it’s important to recognize that pollen can make its way indoors as well, causing discomfort and allergic reactions.

pollen in the home

Pollen is lightweight and can be carried by the wind for long distances. As a result, even if you diligently keep your windows and doors closed, pollen particles can still find their way into your home. They can hitch a ride on clothing, hair, pets, or simply waft in through cracks and crevices.

To reduce your exposure to indoor pollen and alleviate hay fever symptoms, there are several steps you can take. Firstly, consider creating a pollen-free zone in your home, such as your bedroom. Keep windows closed during peak pollen seasons, use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in your air conditioning system, and consider investing in a HEPA air purifier to trap pollen particles circulating indoors.

Regular cleaning can also help minimize pollen accumulation in your home. Vacuum carpets, rugs, and upholstery frequently using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter. Dust surfaces with a damp cloth to prevent pollen from becoming airborne. Additionally, washing bedding regularly in hot water can help remove any pollen that may have settled on them.

Another effective measure is to create a barrier against pollen by using window screens or filters. These can help prevent pollen from entering your home while still allowing fresh air circulation. It’s also a good practice to remove outdoor clothing and shoes before entering your living areas to avoid bringing in pollen particles.

Lastly, monitoring daily pollen forecasts and adjusting your outdoor activities accordingly can help minimize exposure. Try to plan your outdoor ventures during times when pollen counts are lower, such as after rainfall or in the late afternoon when pollen levels tend to be lower.

By implementing these measures and being proactive in managing indoor pollen, you can reduce the impact of hay fever allergies and create a more comfortable living environment for yourself and your family.

How do I find out if I have an indoor allergy?

Many of the symptoms of indoor allergies are similar to common colds and you may not realise you actually have an allergy unless more symptoms present themselves.

To see if you have an allergy then it’s really easy to take a home allergy test from a company such as Klarify.  You can find their home allergy testing kits at https://uk.klarify.me/products/home-allergy-test 

Once you know you have an allergy then you can do something about it!  You can take steps to reduce the allergens in your home.  If your symptoms are bad then you can take the results of your allergy test to your doctor to seek further advice and a treatment plan.

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What could be causing allergies in my house

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