Watch Out for These 5 Household Allergens in Charleston, SC

Household allergens pose a year-round threat to the health and comfort of homeowners in Charleston, SC. The first step to successfully combating this threat is to understand it. In that spirit, here are five common household allergens to guard against.

1. Dust

Let’s look at the most common threat first. Since dust is everywhere, it is virtually impossible to completely remove it from your home, so it constantly stands in a position to lower your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ). Dust often floats through the air, but it can also sit on and in your carpets, furniture upholstery, shelves, tables and other flat surfaces.

Minimizing the concentration of dust requires a multi-pronged strategy. You’ll have to vacuum your home often, scrub down surfaces and, for best results, buy an air purifier. With these things, you can minimize low-IAQ symptoms like sneezing and throat irritation.

2. Pet Dander

Pet dander is another major allergen. Because the skin cells that your furry friends can shed are so tiny that you may not even realize they are in the air until you start experiencing allergic symptoms. These might include coughing, watery eyes and the sudden onset of what seem like colds.

While keeping your pet outdoors is a partial solution to this problem, it can never be more than a partial one. At some point, your pets will have to come back inside. The only viable solution to the IAQ problems your pets present is to wash and brush them on a regular basis and wipe their coat down before they come in the house between baths.

3. Pollen

As the weather grows warmer, pollen can easily become near-ubiquitous outdoors. To keep pollen from flooding your home, you may want to keep your windows closed. Beyond this, just be careful about how both you and your pets enter your home after being outside.

Your HVAC system can also be helpful in keeping pollen out of your home because it comes with its own air filters, and its fans can circulate air. To make sure that your system works optimally, you need to arrange a professional tune-up at least once a year.

4. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

“VOCs” is a catch-all term that refers to a certain class of chemicals. These chemicals can be quite toxic when inhaled, and they exist in things like glues, paints, pharmaceutical drugs, cleaning products, aerosol sprays and certain automotive products like motor oil and gasoline.

VOCs can cause a wide variety of rather serious health effects with long-term exposure. If you must use at least some products that contain them, it’s important to be careful about how you dispose of them afterward.

VOCs can cause typical allergy symptoms like coughing, sneezing, congestion and shortness of breath. They can also lead to more serious issues like dizziness, nausea, fainting, headaches, nosebleeds and vomiting.

5. Miscellaneous Insects

In addition to the allergy risk that your pets pose, a variety of unwanted insects may also create similar problems. The two most common ones are dust mites and cockroaches, but there may be others.

Dust mites are minuscule, tick-like bugs that often attach themselves to dust particles and use these to float around your home. They also tend to worm their way into mattresses and other soft kinds of furniture. Allergies may arise when you inhale either them or their waste.

Cockroaches can lurk in your pipes or in cracks in your walls or floors. Like dust mites, they leave waste lying around, and this waste can waft into the air and cause allergy symptoms.

As wide-ranging and serious as the threat from the five foregoing allergens may be for those living around Charleston, SC, especially over the long term, you can successfully combat it. The first step to doing that is to enlist some professional help. Just call M & B Heating and Air and request indoor air quality services.

Image provided by iStock

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