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10 Allergy Triggers Hiding In Your Home

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10 Allergy Triggers Hiding In Your Home

Common Household Items To Avoid Or Replace
Leo Galland, M.D.
Leo Galland, M.D. More by this author
May 10, 2016 at 11:45 AM

Fifty years ago, 1 in 30 people suffered from allergies. Today, that number is 1 in 3.

What exactly is an allergic reaction?

An allergic reaction is a self-amplifying chain reaction that begins with a trigger and ends with a series of effects that include the symptoms you experience and the signs the doctor finds on examination.

If your immune system supplies the amplification, the reaction is considered to be allergy.

I wrote my new book, The Allergy Solution, with my son, Jonathan. In it we offer ways to balance immunity through lifestyle changes and better nutrition to reverse allergies without drugs.

The trigger is called an allergen or an antigen. You do not experience an allergic reaction on your first exposure to an allergen. The allergic response requires that a memory of the allergen already be imprinted on your immune system. It's like recognizing a face: you have to have seen the face before. The allergic reaction will show itself only on subsequent exposures - sometimes the second exposure, sometimes not until multiple exposures have occurred.

Allergens come in all shapes and sizes and can be present in anything you breathe, eat, or touch.

One of the most overlooked groups of allergens are those lurking in your home. There are so many natural products available nowadays, it is easier than ever to make your home healthier.

The Toxic Elephant In The Room

Every 2.6 seconds, a new chemical substance is made or isolated. The American Chemical Society has a database of more than 50 million chemicals that are in use somewhere in the world.

Many of these can be found in the places where you live, work, study, or shop. Some of them have profoundly negative effects on health, especially for people with allergies or asthma.

With so much of our time spent inside, understanding the importance of clearing the air indoors is key.  Here are 10 ways you can improve your indoor air quality:

1. Make Your Home a Smoke-Free Zone

Let's end smoking once and for all. Smoking kills people and pollutes the earth. Secondhand smoke does the same. Then there is the problem of thirdhand smoke, the toxic residue from cigarette smoke that clings to carpet, sticks to walls, and infiltrates furniture. Never allow smoking in your home, and ban smoking anywhere on your property. 

2. Put Out The Fire

Let's clear the air: burning logs, wood pellets, or coal in a stove or fireplace causes both indoor pollution and outdoor air pollution. Wood smoke is considered a significant source of particulate matter, commonly known as soot, in indoor air. This smoke is a risk factor for disease, including asthma.

3. Make Your Bedroom a Clean-Air Oasis

You probably spend more hours in your bedroom than in any other room of your house. To make it as tranquil as possible, may I suggest keeping electronic devices to a minimum? Another way to clear the air is to put away any dust-magnet clutter such as books, magazines and newspapers. If you have a printer in your bedroom, move it! They emit chemicals that you don't want to breathe in. 

For a limited time, get a 32-page booklet, Food As Medicine guidebook and recipes, yours free when ordering The Allergy Solution

4. Park Outside

If parking on the street or in your driveway is an option, I recommend you do so. If you are pulling the biggest pollution-generating machine of all into your garage at night and it is connected to your house, chances are pollution from the exhaust and the tires, dust from the brakes and engine, could be seeping into the house itself.

5. Danger Lurking In Your Laundry Room

The typical clothes dryer vents out 21 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including acetaldehyde, acetone, benzaldehyde, butanal, dodecane, hexanal, limonene, nonanal, 1-propanal, and 2 butanone. VOCs are toxic. They can sting the eyes and irritate the skin and airways and acetaldehyde is classified as a carcinogenic hazardous air pollutant by the EPA, "with no safe exposure level".

But where did they come from? The answer is simple; fragranced laundry detergent and dryer sheets.

Keep the air clean in your home and neighborhood. Use only unscented products.

6. Spray Cleaners

The mist of chemicals created by the spray bottle distributes the toxins into the air around the surface you are cleaning and into the respiratory tract. Several studies worldwide have shown a link between use of these sprays and asthma. Switch to a non-spray application of chemical cleaners or search out non-toxic alternatives such as water and baking soda which is surprisingly effective, and much cheaper.

7. Caution: Avoid breathing vapors

Warning: Harmful if swallowed. It goes without saying really, but anything with alarmingly serious warning labels should not be stored inside your home. So many of these are beneath the kitchen sink.  If their purpose has been served, do not keep the rest of the bottle for months or years on the off-chance you will need it again. Dispose of these items safely to minimize harm to the environment. Visit to find out the best way.

8. Wash Before Wearing

The problem with new clothes is they are usually loaded with dyes and formaldehyde, chemicals you don't want next to your skin. Toss new clothes into a bucket or your washer and let them soak overnight in warm water. Then wash them on a regular wash cycle and see how they smell. You may need to wash them several times. They should not have a chemical odor when you are done washing.

9. Break Free from Fragrances

The whole world has been fragranced. Body wash, body spray, makeup, lip gloss, everything has a not-so-subtle smell. 

But fragrances are made from up to 3,000 different chemicals, the toxicity of which is not known. What is known is that breathing in these extra chemicals, or absorbing them through your skin, builds up the toxic load in your body. Choose fragrance-free whenever possible.

10. Air Fresheners

We use them to mask other odors, but spraying air freshener did not take out the garbage or change the kitty litter. It just introduced more chemicals into our environment. With more reliance on air conditioning in our homes and offices, instead of bringing more fresh air indoors, people look for a quick fix. Open the windows and doors instead.

Toxins in the air we breathe are a good place to start, but they are only one of several other causes of the allergy epidemic. For more ways to take back control of food-related; and mold or pollen related allergies, see my book, The Allergy Solution. And for a limited time, get a 32-page booklet, Food As Medicine guidebook and recipes, yours free when ordering​.



About Author
Leo Galland, M.D.
Leo Galland, M.D., a board-certified internist, is recognized as the world leader in integrated medicine. Educated at Harvard University and NYU School of Medicine, he won the Linus Pauling Award for his trailblazing vision that c Continue reading