|What are Allergens?
Allergen contaminants include mold, dust mites, pet dander (skin flakes), droppings and body parts from cockroaches, rodents and other pests or insects, viruses, and bacteria. Many of these biological contaminants are small enough to be inhaled.
Contaminated central air handling systems are often breeding grounds for allergen contaminants and can distribute these contaminants throughout the home.
Some biological contaminants trigger allergic reactions, including hypersensitivity pneumonitis, allergic rhinitis, and some types of asthma. Allergic reactions occur after repeated exposure to a specific biological allergen. That reaction may occur immediately upon re-exposure or after multiple exposures over time. As a result, people who have noticed only mild allergic reactions or no reactions at all may suddenly find themselves very sensitive to particular allergens. Children, elderly people, and people with breathing problems, allergies, and lung diseases are particularly susceptible to disease-causing biological agents in the indoor air.
Since about 1980, asthma prevalence, asthma-related hospitalizations and asthma-related deaths have increased alarmingly. Recent studies suggest that indoor exposure to dust mites, cockroaches, mold, pet dander, tobacco smoke, and other biological and chemical pollutants, are influencing the course and severity of asthma and/or allergic reactions.
Dust mites are tiny arachnid, up to 6 mm long, with eight bristly legs. Dust mites occur in a wide range of habitats and are especially abundant in mattresses, carpets, pillows, winter clothing and household pets. One double-bed may have as many as 500 million dust mites of 11 different species.
Dust mites can cause severe allergic reactions and skin disease (mange) in humans and animals. Asthma sufferers particularly can experience quite a lot of sickness and discomfort because of allergies caused by the dust mite. They are closely related to ticks and can transmit a number of diseases, including typhus. Dust mites live in large numbers on the human scalp, feeding on skin flakes – an activity which causes allergic reactions in asthmatic children.
Dust mite allergy symptoms are respiratory in nature, usually not a rash. However, there are reports of a red rash around the neck. The wheeze-inducing proteins are digestive juices from the mite gut and are potent. An exposure to the mites in the first year of an infants life can trigger a lifelong allergy.
Call (855) 426-2742 GEESP, Inc. to schedule an allergy screening in your home or office today.
An allergy to cockroaches is similar to an allergy to dust mites. The cockroach allergens stem from their shed outer coverings (cuticles), their saliva, and their eggs and feces. Cockroach allergens can be found in house dust and bedding.
The symptoms of cockroach allergies are similar other types of inhalant allergies.
- Chronic severe bronchial asthma
- Chronic stuffy nose
- Constant sinus infection
- Repeat ear infections
- Skin rash
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Any animal with fur or feathers can contribute to your allergies. If you're in close contact with such an animal and you're sensitive to the allergens it gives off, that animal can give you allergy symptoms.
You might be among the thousands of people allergic to cats. But it might surprise you that symptoms don't come from exposure to cat hair. Rather, cat dander — flaky skin cells and dried saliva — is what triggers an allergic reaction. Dogs also have dander that can trigger allergies, though this is not as common a problem as it is with cats. Dried pet saliva can stick to carpets, bedding, furniture, and clothing.
The tiny dander particles on your pet are very sticky. They'll stick to you, your clothes, and the carpets and furnishings in your home. Dander can be carried through the air and into your eyes and nose. There it becomes an irritant and causes your allergy signs and symptoms, such as a runny nose and watery eyes.
Call GEESP, Inc. to schedule an allergy screening in your home or office today.
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