Dust - Minimizing the Cause of Indoor Allergies
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that people spend 90% of their time indoors, but that indoor air quality can be up to two to five times more polluted than outdoor air.Â Â Airborne dust particles are often the cause of indoor allergies and respiratory problems.Â Â Airborne dust can pose a threat to the health of children, older people and those with respiratory problems.Â Â In Portland, clean air inside our homes is an important concern for all of us.Â However, it is also important to recognize that there will always be dust in every home regardless of the frequency and thoroughness of the home's housekeeping.
House dust may contain tiny bits of dirt and vegetation that originate from inside the house or that are carried inside the house from outside.Â It may also consist of things like tiny bits of animal and human skin and hair, clothing and furniture fibers, fragments of dead insects, and tiny food particles among other things.Â The makeup of your house dust varies depending on the type and age of your home, the temperature and humidity in the home, what you keep in the home and who lives in the home.Â Homes with things like carpets, draperies, knickknacks, books, pets, and upholstered furniture have more dust than those without these things.
Pet dander is found in house dust and consist of cat and dog skin flakes, as well as the pet's saliva and urine, all of which can cause sneezing, wheezing, and running eyes and nose.Â Dust mites live in house dust and feed on tiny particles of organic matter such as our dead skin cells. As disgusting as it may sound, dust mites live in our bedding, upholstery, and carpets. Â However, it's not just the mites themselves that are the problem, the waste products that they produce after feasting on our skin cell also becomes part of the house dust.
Airborne house dust can cause of indoor allergies and respiratory problems.Â Â House dust can become airborne easily and can trigger eye, throat, and nose irritation; headache, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. Â In order to reduce allergies associated with dust, it is recommended that homeowners have their air duct systems cleaned and have a high performance air filters such as electrostatic filters installed.Â Air purification systems are also recommended to remove dust from the indoor air. Â Â While 100% of the dust can never be removed from a home, airborne dust can be kept to a minimum for easier breathing for all.