Indoor Allergens (cont.)

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How do dust mites cause allergic symptoms?

The digestive enzymes that are discharged into the mite feces are the most bothersome of the dust-mite allergens. Less potent allergens are found in the mite bodies. The mite's tiny fecal pellets disintegrate to form a very fine powder that can easily float into the air when disturbed. This commonly occurs during vacuuming, making the bed, turning in bed while sleeping, or walking on the carpet. When an allergic person inhales these particles, asthma or nasal allergy symptoms may occur. There is also evidence that allergic eczema can be aggravated by this exposure.

Allergy facts
  • Each dust mite lives for approximately 30 days and produces about 20 fecal pellets per day. During that time, females may have added 30 new dust mites to the population.
  • About 10% of the population is allergic to dust mites. About 80% of asthmatic children are allergic to dust mites.

Can cockroaches cause allergic symptoms?

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Over the past decades, cockroaches have become recognized as a powerful indoor allergen. Cockroach allergy can be a major factor in serious asthma and nasal allergy. Cockroaches tend to be very troublesome in inner-city areas, multifamily dwellings, and around areas of food preparation.

Cockroaches are among the oldest of all living species (about 350 million years old). The three species of cockroaches that are commonly found in the United States are Blatella germania (German), Periploneta americana (American), and Blatella orientalis (Oriental). (The genus name for the American cockroach, periploneta, is derived from the Greek word, planetes, which means wanderer.)

Cockroaches are hardy, adaptable creatures that thrive in areas where food and water supplies are plentiful. They may be found around dripping faucets and kitchen areas. They do stray, however, to other areas and can commonly be found in children's bedrooms where food is often eaten. The major cockroach allergens are found in their digestive enzymes, saliva, and body parts. As is the case with dust-mite allergens, these microscopic particles become airborne when disturbed by motion in the room.


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Indoor Allergens - Dust Mites at Home Question: How do you control dust mites in your house? Do you clean frequently?
Indoor Allergens - Cockroaches Question: Share the steps you've taken to control cockroaches in your home. Do you have any natural remedies to prevent infestation?
Indoor Allergens - Pollens and Houseplants Question: Which indoor plants have been a source of mold or allergens at your house?
Indoor Allergens - Pets Question: How do you deal with allergies caused by household pets? Have you ever had to give away a pet?

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