Tips help keep indoor allergies at bay

Although you may be concerned about allergic reactions due to outdoor pollen, indoor allergens can be as great a risk, especially during summer months.

Dr. David Corry, professor and chief of the section of immunology, allergy, and rheumatology at Baylor College of Medicine, cites dust mites, which accumulate in mattresses, pillows and carpets, as a big problem.

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“There’s an ecosystem at work in which mites and fungi mutually feed off of each other and may support each other’s growth,” said Corry. “Every house has these organisms to some extent.”

Inhaling or coming into contact with these organisms can trigger allergic reactions, such as eczema, rhinitis and asthma. Corry suggests taking the following actions:

  • Look for alternatives to cloth-based furniture and clean furniture using vacuum attachments regularly.
  • Use a HEPA (high efficiency particulate arresting) filter, which helps keep matter out of the air.
  • Clean rugs with a dry vacuum and avoid using liquid based vacuum cleaners, which can promote growth of fungus.

To prevent mold buildup, Corry suggests having an annual inspection of the entire air conditioning system.

“Air conditioners can sometimes become heavily contaminated with mold, so when the air conditioner is turned on, it can blow mold spores into the air,” he said.

Read more about indoor allergens on the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology website.

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