Dust Allergy


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dust-allergy

Dust Allergy Dilemma

One of the most prevalent indoor air pollutants and the primary cause of a dust allergy falls into the big category simply called “dust particulate matter” or “dust particles.” If you were to classify many of the household airborne pollutants, they would fall into the general category of a dust particle.

We have all heard of household dust so you may be wondering, “What’s such a big deal about a dust particle?”


Well there are actually 3 big deals …

  1. The size of the dust particle
  2. The amount of airborne dust particles
  3. The type of dust particle

If a dust particle is very small we call this a sub-micron particle. A sub-micron particle can lodge deep within the lung tissues. If there are just a few of these sub-micron particles in the indoor environment it wouldn’t really be a big deal. However, extensive studies have proven that these sub-micron particles “by count” are more than 90% of the particles in any residential indoor environment. In fact, I have tested many homes over the years for sub-micron particles and have never found a count less than 90%; while most houses I have checked have been closer to 98%.

But what does this mean?

The answer is tied into the third point above . . . “The type of dust particle.”

There are many sub-micron dust particles in the indoor environment you just don’t want to breathe in every day.

Some of the more common dust particles which are known allergens include:

  • Dust mites
  • Dust mite feces
  • Mold spores
  • Broken-down pesticide dust
  • Broken-down dead insects
  • Bacteria from vacuum cleaner bags
  • Broken down tree and grass pollen
  • and more

People with chronic allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems probably have some level of a hypersensitivity (allergic response) to one or more of these allergens found in house particles. The key to controlling a dust allergy is limiting the amount of these sub-micron dust particles floating in the air of your home.

HEPA To The Rescue

A HEPA vacuum used regularly will drastically reduce the amount of these airborne dust particles over time. By combining the use of HEPA air purifiers in the main rooms of the home along with weekly vacuuming, your should notice a marked improvement in your indoor air quality and dust related allergy symptoms.

About the author: Stan K. Hall a.k.a. The Sick House Doctor is a recognized specialist in Indoor Air Pollution as well as Health & Safety in the home. He has performed over 400 indoor environmental evaluations over the past 26 years and has helped hundreds of homeowners make their homes a haven. He is widely known as the originator of T.E.A.M., the scientifically proven approach to controlling and resolving indoor air pollution.

80% Of Allergies Linked To Household Dust Mites

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Allergic Diseases


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allergic-diseasesWhat is an allergic disease?

An allergy is an abnormal reaction to an ordinarily harmless substance or substances. The substances, called allergens, may be inhaled, swallowed, injected or contacted by the skin.

What are the most common allergic diseases?

Allergic diseases or reactions can involve any part of the body. The parts or systems most frequently involved are the respiratory system, where an allergic reaction may take the form of hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and asthma, and the skin where a reaction can take the form of allergic dermatitis or atopic eczema, contact dermatitis (for example poison ivy) or hives (urticaria). An allergic disease may also be a factor in numerous other diseases.

Hay fever is caused by allergy to the pollen of trees, grasses, weeds or molds or any combination of these. Depending on the section of the United States and pollinating periods, it may occur in the spring, summer or fall and it may last until the first hard freeze. Hay fever sufferers may have spells of sneezing, itching, weeping eyes, runny nose and/or a burning sensation of the throat.

Allergic rhinitis is a general term that applies to anyone with nasal  congestion, sneezing and a runny nose which are all caused by allergies. This may be a seasonal problem as with hay fever or it may be a year-round problem caused by other allergens such as house duct, animal dander and a host of other possibilities. Because allergic rhinitis is frequently confused with sinusitis, people with constant nasal symptoms should be evaluated for allergies.

Asthma is a condition characterized by coughing, wheezing and breathing difficulties. It is frequently associated with a family history of chronic allergies. Any of the allergens mentioned above can cause an asthma attack. Chronic infections of the sinuses or bronchial tubes may also be an important factor to consider. Asthma sufferers are adversely affected by factors such as air pollutants, cigarette smoke and fumes. Asthma can begin at any age and can tend to recur and become chronic.

Allergic dermatitis or eczema is a non-contagious itchy rash that often occurs in the creases of the arms, legs and neck but can also break out anywhere. The condition is frequently associated with allergies and substances which a person is sensitive to. Foods are a common cause of this condition and usually is categorized as chronic in nature. A family history of allergy is thought to be a factor in its occurrence.

About the author: Stan K. Hall a.k.a. The Sick House Doctor is a recognized specialist in Indoor Air Pollution as well as Health & Safety in the home. He has performed over 400 indoor environmental evaluations over the past 26 years and has helped hundreds of homeowners make their homes a haven. He is widely known as the originator of T.E.A.M., the scientifically proven approach to controlling and resolving indoor air pollution.

Allergic Diseases

Allergy Emergency


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allergy-emergencyAllergy emergencies are not common and they are rarely fatal. They are generally not dangerous; that is, they are not poisons, pathogenic organisms (such as viruses or bacteria) or radiation.  Allergic emergencies are those associated with the classic allergy diseases such as asthma, hay fever, food allergies, hives and eczema as well as reactions to foreign matter that may be inhaled, ingested, injected or absorbed by the skin. Such an allergic emergency is possible if a person has a family history of chronic allergies or experiences chronic allergy symptoms and/or has had at least one long-term allergy reaction and therefore;  should always exercise caution throughout their daily routines.

Those that do require immediate attention are anaphylaxis (a generalized shock-like reaction); laryngeal or tracheal edema (swelling of the windpipe); and severe asthma or bronchospasm. Epinephrine by injection is the drug of choice in all three emergencies. Although allergy emergencies may have numerous causes, a general knowledge of them can enable the allergy sufferer in preventing recurrences.  Here are the most common allergen catagories responsible for most allergy emergencies:

  • Foods (Shellfish, nuts, eggs, milk or dairy)
  • Drugs (Penicillin, sulfa, aspirin)
  • Inhalant Pollens (From grasses, weeds, trees)
  • Inhalant Dust (From house dust, mold spores, animal dander, feathers or insect parts)
  • Inhalant Chemicals (Isocyanates from polyurethane, formaldehydes, insecticides)
  • Skin Contact – Plants (Poison Ivy, sumac, primrose)
  • Skin Contact – Chemicals Nickel-plated jewelry, cosmetics, perfumes)
  • Injectants – Venom (Bees, yellow jackets, wasps, hornets, fire ants)
  • Injectants – Drugs (Various medicines, vaccines, x-ray dyes, allergy extracts)

Self-treatment measures are available to provide relief until more extensive medical attention can be obtained.Allergy emergencies can be treated successfully and some can often be prevented. Unlike some injuries and certain illnesses, the outlook for complete recovery from an allergy emergency is good if prepared steps are taken early on.

An epinephrine injector pen (Epi-Pen) should be kept within reach of a person who is at high-risk for an allergy emergency. These life-saving injector pens must be changed out regularly according to the expiration date stamped clearly on each unit. Chronic allergy sufferers should have more than one pen at all times for convenience.

About the author: Stan K. Hall a.k.a. The Sick House Doctor is a recognized specialist in Indoor Air Pollution as well as Health & Safety in the home. He has performed over 400 indoor environmental evaluations over the past 26 years and has helped hundreds of homeowners make their homes a haven. He is widely known as the originator of T.E.A.M., the scientifically proven approach to controlling and resolving indoor air pollution.

Related Posts: Food Allergies, Shellfish Allergies.

Babysitters Allergy Emergency

HEPA


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HEPA-filter

HEPA stands for High Efficient Particulate Air (Arrestance) or in other words, they filter out sub-micron particles as they clean.

Many high-quality vacuum cleaners and air purifiers use HEPA filters as part of their filtration systems. This is beneficial for asthma and allergy sufferers, because the HEPA filter traps the fine particles (such as pollen and dust mite feces) which trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. For a HEPA filter in a vacuum cleaner to be effective, the vacuum cleaner must be designed so that all the air drawn into the machine is expelled through the filter, with none of the air leaking past it. This is often referred to as “Sealed HEPA” or sometimes the more vague “True HEPA.” Vacuum cleaners simply labeled HEPA have a HEPA filter, but not all air necessarily passes through it.

Finally, vacuum cleaner filters marketed as “HEPA-like” will typically use a filter of a similar construction to HEPA, but without the filtering efficiency. Because of the extra density of a HEPA filter, HEPA vacuum cleaners require more powerful motors to provide adequate cleaning power.

When purchasing a HEPA vacuum or air-purifier, it is important to read the specifications for the HEPA filtration to assure that the appliance uses a True-HEPA filter capable of filtration to 99.97% at 0.3 microns. If the HEPA filter in question does not list these specifications, then keep shopping for one that does.

Food Allergy Statistics


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food-allergy-statisticsHow Many People Have Food Allergies?

Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies. This potentially deadly disease affects 1 in every 13 children (under 18 years of age) in the U.S. That’s roughly two in every classroom. The economic cost of children’s food allergies is nearly $25 billion per year.

Food Allergies on the Rise

According to a study released in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children increased approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011. The number of people who have a food allergy is growing, but there is no clear answer as to why. Researchers are trying to discover why food allergies are on the rise in developed countries worldwide, and to learn more about the impact of the disease in developing nations. More than 17 million Europeans have a food allergy, and hospital admissions for severe reactions in children have risen seven-fold over the past decade, according to the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI).

Food Allergy Reactions & Anaphylaxis

Every 3 minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency department – that is more than 200,000 emergency department visits per year. A reaction to food can range from a mild response (such as an itchy mouth) to anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially deadly reaction. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported that food allergies result in more than 300,000 ambulatory-care visits a year among children under the age of 18. Food allergy is the leading cause of anaphylaxis outside the hospital setting.

Once an anaphylactic reaction starts, a medication called epinephrine is the first line of defense to treat the reaction, and you should immediately seek emergency medical attention by calling 911. You can protect yourself by learning the symptoms of allergic reactions and knowing what steps to take if you have a severe reaction. Teenagers and young adults with food allergies are at the highest risk of fatal food-induced anaphylaxis. Individuals with food allergies who also have asthma may be at increased risk for severe/fatal food allergy reactions. Symptoms of anaphylaxis may recur after initially subsiding and experts recommend an observation period of about four hours to monitor that the reaction has been resolved. It is possible to have anaphylaxis without any skin symptoms (no rash, hives).
Failure to promptly (i.e., within minutes) treat food anaphylaxis with epinephrine is a risk factor for fatalities.

Is There a Cure?

There is no cure for food allergies. Strict avoidance of food allergens and early recognition and management of allergic reactions to food are important measures to prevent serious health consequences.

Source: The Food Allergy Research & Education organization

Food allergy information and statistics

Allergy Maps


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Allergies caused by pollens can vary widely according to which area of the United States you may live.  For example, if you live in the central plains states instead of mountainous regions, then certain pollens may have traveled to your area from an adjoining state or even further away.  However, when it come to the most common of all pollen related allergies “ragweed”, they are usually worse in areas with the highest ragweed concentrations.

As you can see by the following ragweed season map, ragweed allergies are somewhat seasonal according to your region of the country.

ragweed-season

The next map shows why ragweed sufferers generally reside in the central part of the United States.

However, those with a severe hypersensitivity to ragweed can experience allergy symptoms no matter where the may live.

ragweed-density

There are many “live” online allergy maps which can give you up-to-date allergy data across the United States. Many of these live maps are broken down according to the specific allergen as seen in the image below of the live map offered on the Weather.com web site.

pollen-map

Source: AllergyReliefExpert.com staff


Virtual Pollen Guide: Regional Allergens in the U.S.