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Are You Allergic to Your Home? 8 Unseen Allergens You Need to Know About

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It is far more common than you might suspect to be allergic to your own home.

In fact, home allergies are so common that Asthma Canada has developed an entire certification program to help asthma- and allergy-suffering Canadians identify home care products that are less likely to trigger symptoms.

The unpleasant truth is, many of the products we trust implicitly to clean, freshen and brighten our home are the very same that cause the chronic health symptoms we struggle with.

Even worse, those same products may be the ones that are overtaxing our immune systems right now and lowering our resistance to the deadly virus that causes COVID-19.

It can feel stressful to be stuck at home not knowing what you can do to protect your family. This article will teach you how to take some of that understandably nervous energy you may be feeling and use it to give your immune system a much-needed boost.

How to Identify “Home Allergy” Symptoms

The number one indicator of a home allergy is any set of symptoms that reliably worsens when you are at home.

Here are some commonly reported home allergy symptoms to watch for:

  • scratchy or sore throat

  • runny or stuffy nose

  • watering, itchy eyes

  • headache or migraine headache

  • sinus pressure or pain

  • mental fogginess

  • irritability

  • skin irritation or rashes

  • daytime sleepiness

  • coughing or sneezing

  • wheezing or difficulty breathing

  • chest tightness or pressure

What Causes “Home Allergy” Symptoms?

Most people still equate allergies with pollen or ragweed or even polluted outdoor air.

But recently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that our indoor air is anywhere from two to five times more toxic than the air outside our homes.

What this means is that it is far more likely your allergies are being triggered by what is inside your home than by what is outside it.

However, it may take a process of elimination before you can figure out exactly what it is inside your home that is triggering your allergy symptoms.

According to the EPA, these are the major categories of home allergens that often trigger allergy and asthma symptoms:

Combustion byproducts

Combustion is the process by which fossil fuels are consumed for energy. When combustion is incomplete, it produces by-products like carbon monoxide and particulate ash.

The most common causes of incomplete combustion include use of a wood stove or fireplace, furnace pilot light issues, smoking or vaping, cooking appliances and engine idling.

Biological elements

Biological elements such as pet dander and dead human skin cells are food for one of the most common allergens on the planet – dust mites.

Other types of biological elements can include mould, mildew, bacteria, fungi and pollen.

Volatile organic compounds

Volatile organic compounds are another one of the leading triggers for home allergy symptoms. VOCs are found in so many home and personal care products that they can be very difficult to eradicate.

Ethanol, formaldehyde, terpenes, acetone, benzene, butanal, carbon disulphide, dichlorobenzene – these hard-to-pronounce VOCs are found in everything from nail polish to deodorizers, detergents to plastics, home fragrances to air “fresheners,” paints to glues, home furnishings (carpeting) and furniture (chairs and couches).

Toxins and poisons

If you have ever used pesticides or insecticides and even some fertilizers, you are already familiar with the warning labels that are printed on these common home care products.

Ozone and radon

Ozone is healthy when it is located high up in our planet’s atmosphere. There, it protects us from harmful ultraviolet radiation.

But down near the Earth’s surface, ozone can be harmful to us. Many small home office appliances and even some so-called air purifiers emit ozone.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that gets released when uranium breaks down. Uranium is naturally present in rocks throughout the world and is quite prevalent in some areas throughout Canada.

Exposure to radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer and the first leading cause in non-smokers.

What to Do to Get Rid of Home Allergies

There is a lot you can do to start cleaning up your home space, but it isn’t always easy to understand your options and what each can do to help.

1. Choose different home and personal care products

The ingredients lists in your home and personal care products are the first things you should check.

You can give your home a fabulous deep cleaning without having to use any harsh or toxic chemicals.

The same holds true for your personal care. Can’t pronounce the ingredients in your lotion, shampoo or perfume? Time for a change.

2. Invest in air filtration and air purification

Air filtration takes care of even the tiniest microscopic particulates, while air purification will break down liquid and gaseous matter to avoid transmitting infection, viruses and germs.

3. Circulate and ventilate

Are you living in new construction? New airtight construction standards are designed to minimize energy bills. But they also minimize air circulation and essential ventilation.

A heat recovery ventilator will make ventilation effortless while exhausting stale air, toxins and excess humidity. As a bonus, new HRV technology will also recycle heat energy to lower your heating bills.

4. Clean out those air ducts

You can’t see inside your air ducts…thank goodness.

But our tiny cameras can peer inside the average central air duct system to see the stomach-churning interior in gripping detail.

Thankfully, cleaning out your indoor air ducts can remove built-up allergy-causing toxins in a single day.

Get in Touch

We hope this article is helpful as you do everything you can to keep yourself and your family safe.

We are working remotely but remain at your service online or by phone at 905-544-2470.

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