Surprising Allergy Triggers Hiding in Your Home

Surprising Allergy Triggers Hiding in Your Home

Seasonal allergies usually get the most attention. You’ve probably seen those ads showing people enjoying the great outdoors thanks to one antihistamine or another. Indoor allergies are also very common. If you or someone in your family has been struggling with allergies, having a home allergen test done might be the first step in getting the problem under control.

Causes of Indoor Allergies

Indoor allergies might not get as much attention because all those over-the-counter medications you see advertised aren’t always as effective when it comes to treating them. When you think of indoor allergies, the first thing that comes to mind is probably your aunt’s allergy to cats or that old boyfriend’s alleged allergy to your dog.

Dust mites are among the most common indoor allergens, however. If you live in a really dry environment, like the desert, you’re in luck. Dust mites need humidity to survive. As the American.Lung Association explains, “Humidity is the most important factor in determining whether a house has high concentrations of dust mites. Dust mites do not drink water like we do; they absorb moisture from the air.”

If you don’t live in the desert, chances are there are dust mites in your home – and your chances go up if you live in areas with high humidity like South Florida – including Boca Raton, where the indoor air quality experts at AirMD are based.

Dealing with Dust Mites

“Dust mite allergens, unlike pet allergens, do not usually stay airborne. They cling to particles that are too heavy to remain in the air for long,” the American Lung Association says. “Dust mite allergens settle within minutes into dust or fabrics, such as pillows, bedding or upholstered furniture, which serve as nests. Most exposure to dust mite allergens occurs while sleeping and when dust is disturbed during bed-making or other movements.”

If you’ve been washing your bedding in hot water every week and vacuuming with a HEPA filter vacuum frequently, but are still having issues, you may want to think about some of the less obvious places where dust mites can be hiding, including:

Stuffed Animals

When it comes to your child’s allergies, toys are nothing to play around with! As the Asthma and Allergy Friendly® Certification Program, a partnership between the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and Allergy Standards Limited (ASL) that tests and certifies products and services to improve the air quality and health of homes, explains, “Like bedding, stuffed toys attract dust mites and other allergens and irritants. They may also contain dyes and materials that can be irritating and cause allergy or asthma symptoms.”

What can you do?

To help reduce allergens, the experts at Asthma and Allergy Friendly recommend the following:

  • Wash your child’s stuffed toys every week in water that is above 130°F.
  • “You can also freeze toys for at least 24 hours to kill dust mites,” they say.


Your favorite chair may be aggravating your allergies. Dust mites love hanging out in your upholstery.

What can you do?

According to the American Lung Association, you should definitely consider reducing the amount of upholstered furniture in your home. Your options include:

  • Embrace the minimalist style and simply remove some of the furniture
  • Invest in furniture with smooth surfaces. You don’t have to sit on a hard, wooden bench, there are a number of very comfortable options. If leather doesn’t work with your budget or your animal-loving spirit, don’t worry. You can find pieces made with good-quality faux leather made from nylon, cork, or polyester. Faux leather also is stain resistant and more durable than leather.

For more information on indoor allergens and home allergy testing, contact the science-based pros at AirMD, a leader in environmental testing and mold remediation.

By AirMD | Posted in Indoor Pollutants