Do you suffer from allergies? You certainly aren’t alone. Another sneeze is always around the corner. Are you tired of being tired? Does your stuffy nose keep you from feeling your best? There might be a problem with mold and indoor allergens inside your home, making you feel as if you’re on a hamster wheel of allergy symptoms that won’t quit.
There can be many reasons that allergies flare-up. However, two concerning triggers are mold and indoor allergens. Since these allergens can be nearly microscopic and hard to detect, it’s important to know the signs of mold and indoor allergens. Otherwise, you’ll feel as if you’re constantly battling allergy symptoms while you’re indoors.
What Contributes to Indoor Allergies?
First, let’s discuss the reasons why you may be dealing with indoor allergies in the first place.
Air Fresheners & Fragrance Allergies
The use of air fresheners is one of the main reasons why some people are dealing with indoor allergies. About2.5 million Americans suffer from fragrance allergies coming from air fresheners, candles, and more. These chemicals may also cause respiratory issues for those with asthma.
Pet Hair & Dander
We all love our pets, but unfortunately, they can contribute to indoor allergens. The dander and fur they shed can cause allergy triggers. Although we can’t completely eliminate pet allergens, we can take steps to minimize exposure. Regular vacuuming, using a high-efficiency air filter in the home, washing bedding and pet bedding in hot water, and wiping up pet hair are helpful steps.
Do you have a dust allergy? In terms of indoor air allergens, this is amongst the most common. Anyone who has a pet or lives in a household likely has been exposed to dust. Dust mites are the number one indoor allergen from dust.
The problem with dust is that it’s very difficult to control. In fact, to truly eliminate dust mites and dust, you need to remove all carpets, drapes, upholstered furniture, and any other fabric from your home.
Dust mites are microscopic bugs that live in bedding and carpeting. You might also have dust mites in your mattress. When you see dust or particles flying around in the air, it’s actually dead mites and their droppings. Dust mites are unfortunately resistant to many pesticides, making the situation even more difficult.
Many people have indoor allergens relating to mold spores. While there are a dozen or so indoor molds that grow in a home, the three most common types include Aspergillus, Penicillium and Cladosporium.
Molds are everywhere, especially in warm, moist environments like bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. What mold grows on is the biggest factor in its allergenicity. It normally attacks porous material, such as natural fibers, wood, and paper.
Mold spores increase indoors and can cause serious allergies, headaches, and nasal congestion. Indoor molds are often found in wet building materials such as ceiling tiles and carpeting. You can find mold spores almost anywhere in a moist environment.
Signs of Indoor Allergies
What are the symptoms of indoor allergens? Allergies manifest in many ways and symptoms, typically involving the respiratory system as well as your eyes and ears.
You can have multiple symptoms or just one symptom of indoor allergies. Common indoor allergies symptoms include:
- Itching eyes, nose, and throat
- Runny nose and nasal congestion
- Postnasal drip
- Waking up multiple times at night from allergies
- Itchy ears or ear infections
- Red, itchy, watery eyes, coughing and wheezing.
Coughing up phlegm and wheezing are common signs of allergies and signs of asthma. Most people think of sneezing as a clear sign of allergies, but it is often overlooked as a symptom. It’s very important to seek help with your indoor allergies if you have a runny nose or watery, itchy eyes.
Signs of Mold in Your Home
Do you suspect that mold spores are causing allergy flareups? These are several signs that mold spores are present in your home and possibly making you feel sick:
- Allergic reactions. If you suffer from allergies and notice that certain areas of your home seem to trigger an asthma attack or sneezing, you may have a mold problem.
- Moldy smell. Mold often has a damp, musty smell that can be difficult to detect. However, you may notice such a smell if you have mold growing in your home.
- Mold on walls, ceilings, or floors. This usually occurs when water gets behind wood and other surfaces and allowed mold to grow.
- Allergy symptoms are worse at home.
- You or a family member develops asthma after moving into a home.
- The presence of black mold, known as Stachybotrys, can cause a rare and sometimes fatal lung infection, called hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
- An accumulation of condensation or water under carpet or wallpaper indicates a moisture problem.
- Condensation on a cold window indicates a moisture problem, too.
Stay on high alert for mold or areas where mold may grow in your home. Preventing mold growth is one of the top ways that you can ensure a healthy home and reduce allergy symptoms.
How do You Treat Indoor Allergies?
While allergies aren’t the same as having a cold, the flu, or even COVID, they can surely make you feel miserable. So, how do you treat indoor allergies so you can get some relief from the symptoms?
The most sensible approach is to eliminate the allergen.
Since most indoor allergies are caused by something inside your home, the best way to deal with them is to eliminate the source of your allergy. For example:
- If it’s a dander/dust allergy, try using a HEPA air purifier.
- Keep your home clean and vacuum the floors often
- Do not allow areas of the home to get wet and remain moist for long periods of time, as this can cause mold to grow
Meanwhile, there are numerous over-the-counter allergy medications that can help with symptoms as well. These include antihistamines, anti-inflammatory medications, decongestants, and cough suppressants.
Benadryl can also help with itching, sneezing and runny nose.
Consider Your Air Ducts
Now that you know a variety of ways to reduce and even prevent indoor allergens, one often overlooked area of your home is the air ducts.
These are the ventilation systems inside your walls and throughout your house, handling the air conditioning, heating, and ventilation of your home. This system is oftentimes overlooked in terms of cleaning and maintenance and is a major cause of indoor allergies.
But what is the process when it comes to cleaning the air ducts in your home?
The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends a process to clean your air ducts. To start, they recommend that you vacuum the vents of your home to remove dirt from the fibers. Then, they recommend using a disinfectant to remove any bacteria or mold. After overhauling the vents of your house, they recommend getting an air-quality test to check the dust levels in your home.
It is recommended that your air ducts be cleaned twice a year to keep them free of dust and pollen. Keep in mind that a lot of things can affect the efficiency of your air conditioning and heating system, so it is important to keep your air vents clean at least once every six months.
How Can You be Sure that Your Air Ducts are Clean?
When it comes to removing mold and indoor allergens, you don’t want to play guessing games about the cleanliness of your air ducts. To ensure that the air ducts are as clean as possible, the best approach is to hire a professional for help.
AC ductwork is a vital component in the efficiency and performance of your air conditioning system. Not only does it play a role in how well your system cools your house, but it also helps determine the energy efficiency of your system.
Your HVAC system needs to be properly cleaned every few years, and air duct cleaning is an integral part of that process. With each breath, you are breathing in clear, clean, and sanitized air. Plus, many of the allergens, viruses, and bacteria are dramatically reduced.
If you’re serious about reducing mold and indoor allergens, the best approach is to clean your ducts at least twice per year. This will help eliminate mold spores, dust, and other indoor allergens that build up in the system.
Contact Breath E-Z for Air Duct Cleaning and More
Our goal is to help you live in a clean and comfortable home, feeling confident about your health and the air that you breathe. Get in touch with us to schedule ductwork cleaning, enhancing the cleanliness of your space and improving indoor air quality.