An allergen is a substance that can cause an allergic reaction. In some people, the immune system recognizes allergens as foreign and dangerous. As a result, the immune system reacts by making a type of antibody called IgE to defend against the allergen. This reaction leads to allergy symptoms. Common allergens are pollen, dust, dust mites and pet dander. Some of the most common symptoms of allergies from allergens are: itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, irritated throat, hives, wheezing coughing and trouble breathing.
Carpet can be a breeding ground for allergens
Carpets can be a large cesspool or breeding ground for allergens, especially long pile carpeting, such as frieze and shag. Low pile carpeting has a shorter weave so allergens may be easier to remove, however it is important to take the same steps when controlling the allergens in your carpeting. No matter the type or pile of carpet, allergens are greatly attracted to it and tend to stick to the carpet fibers. When walking on carpeting, allergens are usually loosened up and then fly through the air, only to settle back in the carpeting or on upholstered furniture, curtains, pet beds, and clothing.
A great way to reduce allergens from your carpeting is by having your carpets professionally steam cleaned once a month or at least a few times a year. Steam cleaning kills dust mites as well as kills bacteria and mold spores that are living in your carpeting and to what contributes to allergies. Once you have your carpets steam cleaned and they have dried, it is best to vacuum over the carpet to remove any dust mite bodies and droppings which were not removed with the steam cleaning.
Allergens can be reduced in your home
Allergens can be reduced in your home by using a vacuum with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter at least once a week and running an air purifier or air cleaner with a HEPA filter. A HEPA filter on a vacuum or in an air-filtration system removes and traps allergens, making sure they do not get recirculated in the air and then settle on the carpeting and or upholstered furniture. Other ways to reduce allergens in your home are to remove shoes at the front or back door and immediately clean up any spills on the carpeting. When you do not remove your shoes when entering your home, you can potentially track in pet dander, mold, insects, insect dust, and other allergens. When liquid spills on carpeting and is not cleaned up immediately, the carpet can develop mold underneath the carpet, which is an invisible allergen.
Some tips for keeping allergens out of your home or at least to a minimum, are to replace all carpet with hardwood, vinyl, or tile flooring, keep windows closed during allergy season and on days when the pollen levels are high, reduce the humidity in your home and not only steam cleaning your carpets but also steam cleaning your curtains and upholstery.
Allergy Associations, such as the American Lung Association and the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America (AAFA) recommend avoiding all wall-to-wall carpeting and using washable rugs over hardwood flooring. Hardwood, laminate, or tile flooring are easier to maintain allergens, by mopping away any allergen on the surface.