Your home, school and workplace contain causes of environmental allergies. These inhaled triggers can include dust, animal dander, feathers, mildew, pollen and mold spores.
Other triggers include:
- Smoke — Avoid tobacco smoke, and do not allow anyone to smoke in your home or car. If you smoke, try to quit. Do not use wood-burning stoves or fireplaces.
- Odors — Stay away from strong odors such as perfume, hairspray, paint, cooking exhaust, cleaning products and insecticides. Room air fresheners and electronic air cleaners also can trigger symptoms.
- Cold air — Cover your nose and mouth with a scarf.
- Colds and infections — Wash your hands frequently. Download and print a hand-washing flyer to remind your family how to do it effectively.
- Exhaust — If you have an attached garage, back out the vehicle and start it outside, especially if you're going to let it run. Fumes can make their way into the home even when the garage door is open.
Tips to Reduce Triggers
Dust mites are tiny bugs that live in bedding, mattresses, upholstered furniture and carpets. No matter how clean your house is, it’s impossible to completely get rid of dust mites. However, you can limit contact, especially in the bedroom, if you:
- Put special dust-proof covers on pillows, mattresses and box springs. Remove and clean the covers frequently.
- Limit the number of stuffed animals kept in bedrooms or put them in plastic containers.
Grasses, trees and weeds produce pollen that travels through the air and is inhaled, which causes seasonal allergy symptoms and triggers asthma. Pollen is higher from trees in the spring, grasses in the summer and weeds in the fall. The beginning and end of each season may vary depending on weather conditions and where you live. If possible:
- Keep windows closed during pollen season, especially during the day.
- Stay inside during midday and afternoon hours when pollen counts are highest.
- Take a shower, wash your hair and change clothing after working or playing outdoors.
- Allergic reactions to pets are caused by the animal’s dander. Short-haired pets are not any less likely to cause a reaction than long-haired animals. Help keep a pet allergy in check with these tips:
- Keep your pet outdoors or restrict it to a few rooms in the house. At the very least, keep the pet out of the bedroom.
- Wash your hands after touching your pet.
- Bathe your pet once a week to reduce dander.
- Molds are found in outdoor air and can enter your home any time you open a door or window. Any house can develop a mold problem with the right conditions. Molds like to grow on wallboard, wood or fabrics, but they will grow on any surface. They thrive in damp basements and closets, bathrooms (especially showers), places where fresh food is stored, refrigerator drip trays, house plants, air conditioners, humidifiers, garbage pails, mattresses and upholstered furniture. You can reduce mold in your home with these tips:
- Clean bathrooms, kitchens and basements regularly and keep them well-aired.
- Do not use humidifiers.