Breathing is essential to life. Therefore, it makes sense that what we breathe in can impact our health. People spend up to 90% of their time indoors, with roughly 70% of their day spent in their home.1,2 This makes air quality within the home an important contributor to health. Some of the things that can affect indoor air quality are allergens found within the home, indoor pollutants from items used or found within the home, and particles from outdoor air that have made their way inside.2
Allergens can be found anywhere within a house, but the bedroom is one of the main places people are exposed. The most common allergens found within the home and ways to try and reduce exposure are:3–5
Dust Mites: Dust mites are found in house dust, they are more common in humid environments, and tend to collect on things like carpets, beds, and upholstered furniture.
Rodents: Hair/dander, urine, and feces from pests (rats, mice) as well as house pets (rats, mice, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters)
Mold/Fungus: Homes that may be more likely to have mold allergens include those that are older, have previous or current water damage, are located in humid environments, or that lack or have improperly maintained ventilation systems (HVAC systems – heating, ventilation and air conditioning).
Indoor pollutants come from many of the items we have or things we use and do within our home. These pollutants tend to be more of a concern with contributing to asthma symptoms but can also cause or contribute to allergies in sensitive individuals.1,2
Household factors: Water damage, HVAC systems, renovations/repairs/building materials, new furniture or carpets, gas stoves for cooking, woodburning stoves or fireplaces, unvented space heaters
Chemicals: Cleaning products, chemicals for pools/hot-tubs, candles, cooking and cookware.
Hobbies: Arts and crafts, model building, painting
Smoking byproducts: Smoking, secondhand smoke, vaping.
Outdoor air particles: These include allergens like pollen (from trees, grass, weeds) and molds (see IFM’s Environmental Mold Exposure handout), as well as pollutants like smoke from wildfires, exhaust fumes, radon gas, other chemical fumes from nearby industrial facilities (i.e., waste management, power generation), etc.6
If you want to find out more about how functional medicine can help you with allergy please contact our office 425-785-1817.
1. Seguel JM, Merrill R, Seguel D, Campagna AC. Indoor air quality. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2016;11(4):284-295.
2. Practice B on PH and PH, Division H and M, National Academies of Sciences E. Sources of Indoor Particulate Matter. National
Academies Press (US); 2016. Accessed October 27, 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK390370/
3. Salo PM, Wilkerson J, Rose KM, et al. Bedroom allergen exposures in US households. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2018;141(5):1870-
4. Matsui EC, Abramson SL, Sandel MT. Indoor environmental control practices and asthma management. Pediatrics.
5. Ahluwalia SK, Matsui EC. Indoor environmental interventions for furry pet allergens, pest allergens, and mold: looking to the
future. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2018;6(1):9-19. doi:10.1016/j.jaip.2017.10.009
6. Air pollution. Accessed November 3, 2021. https://www.who.int/westernpacific/health-topics/air-pollution
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