No one likes to deal with allergies, but it can be particularly bothersome to have to endure annoying allergic symptoms in your own home. Before getting into specific symptoms, it’s helpful to understand how allergens work on a basic level. Allergens, essentially, are foreign substances that can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Everyone’s tolerance for common allergens is different, and even people who are allergic to the same substance might react to it in differing degrees. The important thing is to identify which substances are triggers for you as early as you can and make the effort to adjust your lifestyle accordingly. If you’re struggling to figure out if your allergic reaction is being caused by a substance in your home, read on to learn more about four of the most common symptoms of in-home allergies.
1. Year-Round Symptoms
One way to identify indoor allergies is that the symptoms don’t come and go. Many outdoor allergies are seasonal and flare-ups are easy to predict based on the timing of increased presence of those specific allergens in substances like pollen. However, if your symptoms don’t lessen after the season changes, the trigger may be coming from inside the house. Pay attention to your décor, as accents like long curtains can retain allergens and pet dander easily.
2. Difficulty in High-Allergen Areas
There are certain areas of the house that do tend to collect a higher concentration of allergens. Dusty rooms or rooms with a lot of older fabric or clothing can collect generate a significant allergic reaction for those who are sensitive. If you have pets with fur, anywhere that they spend the majority of their time will become a high-allergen area for anyone with pet allergies. For mild cases that aren’t debilitating, there’s a lot you can do to reduce the effects of allergens. For example, A well-maintained HVAC system can help eliminate allergens and manage humidity levels within the home. HVAC systems should be inspected and have their filters changed at least once a year. Improved indoor ventilation generally has a positive effect on those with sensitivities especially to certain allergens like mold, mildew, and pet dander.
3. Allergic Response to Chores
While kids may joke about being allergic to doing chores, it is actually possible to be significantly affected by common household chores. If we were making a list 5 household chores we want to outsource to help with allergies, dusting would definitely qualify. If you have family members with allergies, try not to assign any chores to someone that would require significant contact with known allergens, and if that leaves you short-handed, it might be worth the investment to have a cleaner come and take care of certain tasks for you, especially for more severe reactions. Keeping up with household cleaning is even more important in households where one or more person is prone to allergic reactions, chores like vacuuming can make a big difference in the presence of irritants around the house, as can small additions like a humidifier.
4. Allergies That Worsen With Cold Weather
In the cold weather, you typically spend more time indoors, thus putting people with in-home allergies in increased contact with the allergen that’s causing a reaction. The type of heat and heating system in your home can also trigger or worsen a reaction, especially as allergens can be trapped in air ducts and then blown through the air, spreading them even further throughout the house. If you notice you’re having a more difficult time in the winter, it might be a sign that you’re being triggered by something in your home.
It can be tricky to identify what allergen is triggering it when you start to have a reaction, considering the number of potential causes in and outside the home. Pay attention to the timing and frequency of your symptoms, as well as what activities seem to worsen them, and talk to a doctor if you have a suspicion that you may have in-home allergies. While many allergies are mild and don’t require more than over-the-counter care, more severe allergies can heavily impact your quality of life and may require more significant changes to your environment. If you’re experiencing allergic symptoms, such as a scratchy throat, don’t prolong your discomfort, talk to your doctor, and consider an allergy test today. Your nasal passages will thank you.