Check Out This Must See Video: Dr. Hetu Parekh Talks About Indoor Allergies on KVUE-TV in Austin, Texas. A Board Certified Allergist of Austin Family Allergy & Asthma, Dr. Parekh covers everything you need to know about indoor allergens, what to watch out for and how to prevent them.
Scroll to the link at the bottom of this post to watch video on KVUE.
KVUE: It’s the last day of January and of course cedar typically gets the spotlight during this time. However, today we’re talking about indoor allergens. What are the major indoor allergens?
Dr. Parekh: I think this is such an under-appreciated and important topic, even though, we spend 80-90% of our time indoors! Just last week, I had a few patients who thought they were having cedar fever and it turned out they were not allergic to cedar. It was house dust mites, which I believe is one of the most important and often overlooked indoor allergens that we see. Cat and dog allergies everyone is aware of. And, believe it or not, allergy to cockroaches.
KVUE: Can you tell us more about dust mites and other indoor allergens?
Dr. Parekh: House Dust Mites are microscopic and they require a humid environment to survive — over 50% humidity. They become especially problematic when people are cleaning the house and dust starts flying around everywhere and they breathe it in. In addition to being hay fever and allergy triggers, they are also triggers for many people who suffer from eczema.
Cat and dog allergens are found on the animals’ fur, skin and also in their saliva. Cat allergen is particularly a problem because their allergens, such as pet dander, can remain in the air for up to six months after cat removal. In fact, pet dander has been found even in public places. Plus, indoor and outdoor pets carry outdoor pollens and molds around with them. You might be more exposed to outdoor allergens than you normally think you would be if you spend a lot of time indoors but the pets go in and out.
KVUE: So what can we do about indoor allergens, in particular, House Dust Mites?
Dr. Parkeh: For House Dust Mites, it starts with humidity. You must keep your indoor humidity below 50%. A side benefit of keeping the humidity down is that it will help minimize mold, which is both an indoor and outdoor allergen.
You also should have minimal dust in the house. Regular cleaning including vacuuming is important. If you’re sensitive to house dust mites, wear a mask or ask your spouse to clean the house if possible — patients love me when I tell them that! Then there are other measures. You can use pillow and bedding encasements, regular washing of bedding in hot water, regularly changing the air filter in your home if you have central heat and air. Certainly I would do all this before embarking upon expensive things like taking out all your carpeting or buying whole home HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filtration system.
Regarding keeping your pets, even if you have been diagnosed as allergic to them, that decision is totally up to you! As far as cockroaches are concerned, you MUST try to get an exterminator.
KVUE: Can allergy immunotherapy help?
Dr. Parekh: Yes, of course! For many people these measures we talked about, are not sufficient and they need allergy injections. And immunotherapy with House Dust Mites for eczema patients is something that I think is under-utilized and can be of great benefit to those patients. It’s important to keep in mind even if you decide to have immunotherapy, like allergy shots or drops, you still want to do your best to minimize exposure to what you are allergic to. Despite all of these measures at home, you cannot control your exposure to all of the other indoor allergens outside your home, such as at work, in other peoples’ homes, etc. Immunotherapy is still the best we have to offer our patients at Austin Family Allergy & Asthma.
Board Certified Allergists Doctor Allen K. Lieberman and Doctor Hetu Parekh treat the WHOLE patient — and family members of ALL ages! Austin Family Allergy & Asthma can provide treatment for cedar fever, hay fever, oak allergies, asthma and food allergy issues. Same day or next day appointments are available and some Saturdays. Call 512-346-7936 to book your appointment today. Sí, Hablamos español!