If you’re reading this post because it’s allergy season and you’re at your wit’s end, don’t panic. A practical way to make sure your respiratory system isn’t getting too bombarded by all of the pollen, yeast, and mildew outside as the seasons change is to consider indoor allergens.
That’s right — there are plenty of allergens inside of our homes that can be just as impactful to the way that you feel and the allergic reactions you experience year-round.
With more than 50 million Americans experiencing various types of allergies each year, it makes sense to turn inwards, consider the insides of our homes, and get to the bottom of what might be making allergy symptoms even worse.
Here are 5 common allergens that lurk in nearly every home and how to combat them.
1. Dust mites
Unfortunately, it’s a given that dust mites will live in your home no matter how much you clean. Dust mites are microscopic, insect-like pests that generate some of the most common indoor allergens that trigger asthma and allergic reactions. Dust mites are everywhere, but they’re found especially in beds and bedding, on upholstered furniture, and on any cloth material.
Regular cleaning can help get rid of some of the dust mites, but you’ll want to minimize the number of dust mites you breathe in and let them surround you by taking extra precautions like purchasing a dehumidifier or air conditioner. You can better protect your organic mattress by encasing it (and your pillows!) in allergen-proof covers. Keeping the humidity in your house as low as possible is key.
Mold is another very common indoor allergen that triggers allergies, and it can also have dangerous health repercussions including triggering autoimmune disease. Activities as mindless as leaving a wet sponge on the kitchen counter or forgetting about your wet laundry in the machine can spawn mold growth. Areas that are prone to moisture or not well-ventilated — such as bathrooms, basements, and even kitchens — hotbeds for mold growth.
An easy way to get rid of mold is to use water, detergent, and a non-toxic but high-quality cleaner. You can also use vinegar and baking soda for tough black mold removal. Make sure you wear a protective mask when you clean away the mold! If it’s covering a larger area than 10 feet, it may be best to seek out the help of mold removal professionals. Also, repairing and sealing leaky pipes and minimizing mildew of any kind is key.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a “hypoallergenic” pet or breed. With dogs, for example, humans aren’t allergic to their fur, but to a protein that’s found in their slobbery kisses (saliva), urine, and especially dander. Many people experience allergy symptoms that are triggered by these proteins, leading to a stuffy or runny nose, red or itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, and even full-blown asthma.
Of course, the best way to avoid allergens from pets would be to not own a pet — but we know that’s not fun! With a weekly cleaning routine in place, you can eliminate at least some of the dander in your home, which could be impacting your immunity without you even realizing it. Frequently washing your clothing, especially if you’ve been petting or cuddling Sparky, is also a good idea. Regularly cleaning pets’ cages, crates, or beds will help as well.
Let’s face it: our world is riddled with questionable chemicals. From common household cleaners to things like perfume and hairspray, we’re surrounded by chemicals at home that can seriously affect immunity and cause allergic responses. Particles from air fresheners, bug spray, pet flea and tick treatments, window and glass cleaners, bait traps for ants, (the list goes on and on!) will linger in the air after you use them. If you experience watery eyes or an itchy nose, you know your body is reacting and allergic.
The best way to get rid of chemical allergens? Don’t use toxic chemicals in the home! It’s that simple. Detoxifying your home is easy when it comes to chemicals now that eco-friendly living is becoming more mainstream. A good place to start is getting rid of cleaners like bleach and anything labeled “antibacterial” (which means the product contains pesticides). You can also visit our blog to learn how to make healthier, homemade cleaners and better understand the ingredients on cleaning labels.
Last but not least, and perhaps the most disgusting, is pests. In densely populated areas like most urban environments and also in warm climate areas, pests such as cockroaches and mice are, unfortunately, quite common. This doesn’t mean you have a dirty or unkempt lifestyle if you’ve dealt with roaches before! It’s simply a fact of life — albeit a gross one! Much like pets, we aren’t allergic to pests themselves; we’re allergic to proteins that fall from their bodies and are found in their waste.
To prevent these pests from getting inside in the first place, you’ll want to make sure any cracks in the walls, flooring, or baseboards are sealed, as well as any possible entryways. It’s also key to keep your food in the fridge or in containers and to put pet bowls away. Thoroughly vacuuming your carpeting and washing all surfaces each week will help to minimize allergy-triggering mouse or insect residue.
At Naturepedic, we want to make sure all of our products are free from any common allergens, especially toxic chemicals. That’s why it's our mission to eliminate toxic chemicals from sleep products and replace them with natural and organic materials that don’t impact health negatively.
View our EOS line of non-toxic, organic latex mattresses for adults to learn more about the healthier materials we use, such as organic wool batting and high-performance fibers made from non-GMO sugarcane.