Millions of Americans have to avoid allergen triggers as a way of life. From skin and food allergies to sinus problems and hay fever, allergies come in a wide variety. While avoiding particular substances can prevent symptoms of food and skin allergies from flaring up, other triggers can be eliminated from your everyday life – triggers like dust, bugs, rodents, and dander.
Here at Got Bugs, we aren’t doctors, but we are experts when it comes to these particular allergen triggers. The pests and bugs that we exterminate from homes all year round are common triggers of indoor allergies. Here in Georgia, we don’t suffer from fall allergies like our friends up north do, but our warmer temperatures do invite more pests like cockroaches, dust mites, and rodents to come and thrive. These are the three most common allergen triggers, and they can even cause asthma if left to their own devices.
Rodents and Dust Mites
To make matters worse, allergen triggers are everywhere! Rodent infestations are the worst in the fall and winter, as they are looking for warm homes to live and breed in. Dust mites, on the other hand, are in nearly every home, and studies show that 85% of homes have them in their beds. Did you know a typical mattress will have 100,000 to 10 million dust mites inside of it? How crazy is that!
Cockroaches tend to live in urban areas, and 78-98% of structures in these environments contain these disgusting pests. There have been times when we’ve inspected a client’s house because they saw a couple cockroaches--thinking that was the extent of the infestation--only to find dozens and dozens of these roaches within the walls!
If your children have indoor allergies, or you suffer from them yourself, you know the common symptoms: a runny nose, itchy eyes, and head congestion that can last for weeks. An allergist, or your children’s pediatrician, will ask how much time you spend outside, about your diet, if you have pets, or if there’s mold is present in your home. What they won’t be inclined to ask is if cockroaches, dust mites, and rodents have taken up residency in your home.
So while the experts here at Got Bugs can’t write prescriptions to help you or your children, we can help you contain the triggers that can cause weeks of suffering. As parents ourselves, we know how painful it is to watch children agonize and lose sleep over allergies, so we want to do anything we can to help. Here are five tips on how to eliminate allergy triggers in your home!
Keep a Clean Home
Cockroaches and rodents can smell your food from great distances, and would like nothing more than to have a snack when you’re not looking. As their name implies, dust mites will be more prevalent in dusty areas, which means that you’ll never be able to fully get rid of them. Keeping a clean household will help reduce your allergy symptoms because the pests triggering your allergies won’t have comfortable homes to live in. There are a lot of things you can do to keep pests away, and here are some tips:
- Keep trash cans sealed.
- Sweep and vacuum your kitchen and dining areas often, and clean up any spill or crumbs once they occur.
- Get rid of clutter like newspapers and boxes, which cockroaches can chew or hide behind.
- Don’t leave your pet’s food out all day.
- When dusting, never use a dry cloth as this will just spread dust mites.
- All bedding and linens should be washed once a week in water hotter than 130 degrees Fahrenheit, or freeze non-washable bedding overnight.
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth while vacuuming in order to avoid inhaling allergens.
- Use a vacuum cleaner with a double-layered microfilter bag or a HEPA filter to contain allergens that get through the vacuum’s exhaust.
- Store food in containers and jars.
Prevent Them From Coming Inside
A good way to help control children’s allergies is to not let the pests that trigger them inside in the first place! Though this is impossible with dust mites, there are steps you can take to pest-proof your home this fall so critters can’t find a way inside. Mice can fit through cracks the size of a dime, so no hole should be overlooked. You and your children will breathe a lot easier as the weather gets cooler by just following some simple pest exclusion techniques:
- Walk around your home at night to see if there is any light or warm air escaping through cracks.
- Look for holes around your window and door frames.
- Stuff copper mesh or steel wool into any cracks you find, and put some foam over this material to seal it into place.
- Check for any holes in your screens and fix them.
- Utilize the scent of pine, which is a good rodent repellent, anywhere you think rodents may be coming inside.
- Keep bushes and trees at least three feet from your house as these can be used by rodents as bridges into your home.
Dust mites can’t be captured, but rodents and cockroaches can. Trapping these pests will help cut down on the population inside your home, but chances are that it won’t eliminate the entire infestation. While you’re waiting for a pest control professional to come and exterminate the pests, here’s what you can do to get rid of a few of those little critters:
- Put mouse traps in areas that you’ve found droppings or suspect you have rodents.
- Lay down glue boards in any area where rodents or cockroaches might be traveling.
- Cockroach baits can help, but be sure to keep these away from children and pets.
Control Moisture and Humidity
Pests love moisture because, like us, they need water to survive. Mold and mildew also thrive in damp areas like your kitchen, bathroom, and basement, and they can lead to much greater health risks than allergies. Consider doing the following to reduce moisture, and prevent infestations:
- Check all your faucets and fix any leaks.
- Try to maintain humidity at 50% or below by using a dehumidifier – this will also help with dust mites.
- Inspect your pipes in your basement, and hire professionals if necessary to look behind your walls for any leaks that might not be visible.
Be Aware of Pet Allergies
We all love our furry friends, but about 40% of people with seasonal allergies also suffer from pet allergies. If you have these allergies but also can’t imagine your life without a pet, here are some tips on how to reduce your best bud’s impact on your allergies and quality of life:
- Clean up any saliva or urine from pets as soon as possible as these are strong allergen triggers.
- Sweep up dander and fur daily to reduce exposure to dust mites.
- Don’t pet your pet and then directly rub your eyes (seems like a given but hey!).
- Keep litter boxes and pet bedding away from air vents and air conditioners and clean them frequently.
- Get an air purifier to help clean the air of your home.
Seasonal allergies affect over 35 million Americans. We wish there were an easy cure for these millions of people that fight allergies and asthma every day, but science just hasn’t been able to completely tackle this common problem. While we can’t eliminate allergen triggers completely, we can help you contain and manage the primary triggers inside your home, and reduce your suffering. You and your children might be suffering from allergies and not realize that cockroaches, dust mites, or rodents are the cause.
Let Us Help Control These Triggers
If you suspect you have pests in your home that could be contributing to your family’s allergies, let Got Bugs help. With our pest control services, we’ll first inspect your home and identify potential infestations and risks. From there, we’ll not only exterminate all of the bugs in your home, but we’ll prevent them from coming back. With our help, you can control allergies and have a happier, healthier home!