Common Indoor Asthma Triggers and Allergens
Some of the most common indoor asthma triggers include secondhand smoke, dust mites, mold, cockroaches and other pests, household pets, and combustion byproducts. You may not be affected by all of these triggers. However, your doctor can help you to determine which triggers affect your asthma or may lead to you developing asthma and help you develop a customized asthma management plan.
Dust Mites are too small to be seen, but can be found in almost every home in mattresses and bedding materials, carpets, upholstered furniture, stuffed toys and curtains. Virtually every home has dust mites. They feed on human skin flakes and are found in pillows, mattresses, carpets, upholstered furniture, bedcovers, clothes, stuffed toys and fabric-covered items. Body parts and feces from dust mites can trigger asthma in individuals with allergic reactions to dust mites, and exposure to dust mites can cause asthma in children who have not previously exhibited asthma symptoms. Dust mites do not transmit diseases and are not harmful to non-allergic individuals.
Droppings and body parts of cockroaches and other pests can trigger asthma. Certain proteins, called allergens, are found in cockroach feces and saliva and can cause allergic reactions, or trigger asthma symptoms, in some individuals. Cockroaches are commonly found in crowded cities and the southern regions of the United States. Cockroach allergens likely play a significant role in asthma in many inner-city areas.
Animal dander can be found in virtually every home were warm-blooded pets (such as cats and dogs) where pets are allowed inside. Your pet's dead skin flakes, urine, feces, saliva and hair contain dander. Dogs, cats, rodents (including hamsters and guinea pigs) and other mammals can trigger asthma in individuals with an allergic reaction to animal dander. Proteins in the dander, urine or saliva of warm-blooded animals (e.g., cats, dogs, mice, rats, gerbils, birds, etc.) have been reported to cause allergic reactions or trigger asthma episodes in individuals sensitive to animal allergens.
AMI approved analysis labs offer an extensive panel of specific allergen assays:
• Dust Mite: Der p 1, Der f 1, Der f 2, Group 2, Blo t 5, Lep d 2
• Animal: Fel d 1, Can f 1, Rat n 1, Mus m 1, Equ c 4, Bos d 2
• Cockroach: Bla g 1 & Bla g 2
• Mold: Alt a 1 & Asp f 1, AveX, SchX/Y
• Food: Ara h 1, Ara h 2, Ara h 6
• Pollen: Bet v 1, Phl p 5, Amb a 1
• Endotoxin: rFactor C, LAL
Allergen and Mold testing by ELISA or MARIA has an approximate 7-day turn around time.
Indoor Allergen Testing
Most Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors. We like to think of our homes, schools, and workplaces as safe, but just how safe are they? With over 5,000 asthma related deaths reported in the U.S. each year - most of which are children - periodic testing of your indoor environments for asthma and allergen triggers is prudent.
Since indoor allergens can play a significant role in triggering asthma attacks it is important to recognize potential indoor asthma triggers and reduce your exposure to them. With today's technology, indoor environments can be tested for allergens and asthma triggers quickly and affordably.