The top five asthma triggers listed in order are cigarette smoke, pet dander, dust mites, cock roach and mold. Most people are surprised to find that mold is number five on the list, yet it is the most talked about allergen. Occupants exhibiting symptoms that are consistent with exposure to allergens should have the home evaluated for all the allergens on the list, not just mold.
Long term exposure to allergens may eventually lead to asthma, especially in the first three years of life. One misconception is that exposure is needed in order to build up immunity to the allergens. That may be true for some bacteria or viruses, but it is not true for allergens. Allergens have an accumulative effect. Exposure over time may eventually lead to sensitization and then the body’s immune system may overreact to exposure.
There are about 17 million Americans who have asthma. The rate of asthma has increased 75% since 1980 and is the most common chronic childhood disease, affecting about 5 million children. The increase in these numbers may be attributed to the amount of time we spend indoors. All of the common asthma triggers are found indoors and it is now estimated that Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors. A little thought and effort to improve your indoor air quality may go a long way to improve your family's health.
Over the next few months I will cover these common allergens and how they may adversely affect the indoor air in your home. I will give recommendations on ways to help limit exposure to each of these allergens. If you have questions concerning mold or other indoor air quality issues you are welcome to call me at 610-5111 or the EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse at (800) 438-4318.
For more information, contact Scott at www.scottsauer.com.