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Common Indoor Allergens and How to Deal with Them

May 24, 2015

Guest Blog by Brian Wallace of Central Station Marketing, Content Writer for DKI Member, Dalworth Restoration

If you are suffering from conditions like perennial allergic rhinitis and asthma, the quality of your organization’s indoor environment might be to blame. Indoor allergens and irritants play a major role in triggering allergies and asthma, as well as in making them worse in many cases.

This could be bad news for a lot of Americans suffering from these conditions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, people in the U.S. spend around 90 percent of their time indoors, inadvertently exposing themselves to these allergens.

As a business owner, you have to be aware of these common indoor allergens so that you can proactively take measures to protect yourself and your employees from exposure.

Molds – Molds have been around for millions of years. In nature, they play a significant role in the decomposition of organic matter and in the nutrient recycling process in ecosystems. In your home or office, however, they are among the most harmful forms of allergens.

Molds thrive in damp environments, including the bathroom, the basement, or wherever there is a leak. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, molds are responsible for causing a range of respiratory problems and fungal infections in people, which is why removing mold should be done as quickly as possible.

A solution of bleach and water can kill molds, but if the mold infestation problem is too big, it is best to hire a professional to deal with it. For instance, if your office has suffered water damage due to storm, flooding, or broken pipes, hiring a restoration company is the easiest and safest way to get rid of the resulting mold infestation.

Dust mite feces – Feeding on organic matter like dead skin cells from people, dust mites are commonly found in areas of human habitation. Their digestive systems contain enzymes that are allergy-inducing. When the dust mites excrete feces, the enzymes go along with it and are then inhaled by people.

Because they are microscopic, you won’t be able to see them, and there are too many to be eradicated thoroughly. But, while they can’t be eliminated completely, there are things you can do to reduce their numbers.

Dust mites love warm and humid environments, so try to limit the humidity in your office to no more than 50 percent. Using a dehumidifier will help you achieve this goal.

Cockroaches – Cockroaches are not only disgusting, they can also trigger allergies through the allergens found in their feces and saliva. Although they can be found almost anywhere, they thrive in densely populated environments like cities.

Make sure that all your food is stored and covered properly. The idea is to cut off the vermin from their food supply, so be vigilant when you have exposed food items, like those left over from your meals or food scraps in uncovered garbage bins. Also fix leaky water pipes or faucets so the cockroaches won’t have access to moisture and water, either.

Secondhand cigarette smoke – Often, it isn’t the smokers themselves who are affected by the smoke from the cigarettes they light up; it’s the allergic people around them. Secondhand smoke can irritate the respiratory system and can make asthma worse in asthmatic individuals. Consider designating a specific location outside for those smokers in your office.

Pollen – Flowering plants are mostly found outdoors, so pollen is more of a concern for allergic individuals when they are outside. However, pollen grains can hitchhike on people, eventually finding themselves indoors. To minimize the possibility of pollen allergy, consider getting an air purifier with a HEPA filter.

Household chemicals – Household chemicals are present in almost all cleaning and hygiene products. Consider getting hypoallergenic or mild versions of these products to avoid allergic reactions.

Armed with the right information, you can minimize your allergies and live a more comfortable life.