Allergies in California
The California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) estimated that nearly 4 million adults and children have been diagnosed with asthma in California alone. This is the reason why it is important to understand how to avoid the allergens that can wreak havoc on your respiratory system.
With allergy season in full swing, many are wondering how they are going to deal with this nuisance. Recent forecasts have indicated that this year’s allergy season is much stronger and longer than those in the past. Even residents in California, a state considered to have fewer issues with intense allergies are starting to feel the itchy watery eyes and sneezes coming on.
Recent studies have established the top 30 cities in the U.S. that have the most allergy sufferers. California had 5 different cities appear on this list including Riverside-San Bernardino, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. The study analyzed pollen levels in each city, how many allergy medications were purchased and the number of board certified allergists per patient. The conclusion to this study indicated that allergies are on the rise and those individuals affected by ragweed increased by 15 percent between 2005 and 2008. Allergic reactions to mold also increased by 12 percent and the overall sensitivity rate to 11 separate allergens increased by 6 percent. Many argue there are several reasons for this increase including location, weather and climate change. Now although it is still not clear what is causing the number of allergy sensitive individuals to rise, there are several ways an individual can decrease their exposure to such allergens in their home.
For those with existing respiratory issues, being exposed to allergens can be especially difficult. Individuals with asthma for example can have an asthma attack if exposed to triggers. This includes things such as pet dander, pollen or mold. There have been several cases in which an asthmatic child for instance is exposed to such a trigger resulting in a massive asthma attack. This can be incredibly damaging to a child’s body especially since during an asthma attack there is a lack of oxygen making its way to the brain.
In some cases a child can suffer severe brain damage when they go extended periods without out adequate oxygen. Again, this sort of attack can be prevented by having an allergen test performed in your home to determine if “triggers” are in fact present. Of course allergens do not only effect young children or asthmatics, exposure can also be detrimental to healthy adults, the immune compromised and the elderly. Mold for example can elicit an allergic response, or can cause severe damage to the nervous system and even the brain. The only way to prevent such ailments in relation to allergen exposure is to determine what is present in your environment so that it can be removed completely. Only an individual who is a certified inspector knows the proper protocol associated with such an inspection and can help find the origins of an allergen that is present. Such an inspector would also use the services of an accredited 3rd party lab to send his/her samples to and this will ensure that the test results are accurate.
Since on average Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, it is always suggested that a person know that their indoor environment is a safe and clean one. What many allergy sufferers do not know is that every winter when the weather begins to get cold and people turn up their heaters, they may be pushing more allergens inside. The reason for this is that during the time when the heater is not being used pollen, mold spores, dust and other debris can accumulate within the ducts.
Once the unit is turned on, this throat-clogging gunk is dispersed throughout their home causing their allergies or asthma to act up. This is why it is important to have a professional air quality assessment performed in your home to determine the allergen levels in your home. In the state of California for example, many may not feel that they use their HVAC units that often and are less likely to perform the necessary duct cleanings. This year for example, many are experiencing much cooler weather for this time of year than usual. This of course means that more individuals will be cranking up their heaters and potentially spreading allergens throughout their homes.
Certified mold inspectors or indoor environmental professionals can also determine the scope of a given problem and basically lay the foundation for eradicating the problem completely. In the case of mold infestation a certified mold inspector can determine why the mold began to grow within your home, for example broken pipes, structural abnormalities and so forth. This of course will result in an elimination of the potential problem and of course bring your indoor environment to a healthy level.
As a California resident, where the prevalence of allergies have increased steadily by approximately 3-4 percent yearly, it is important to avoid potential irritants, allergens and triggers that can cause a variety of problems for sufferers. Again for those with asthma, it can mean the difference between a potentially dangerous asthma attack and safe place to live. As it is a much more difficult a process to clean the air outside of our homes, offices and schools, maintaining a healthy indoor environment is key. Contacting a certified indoor environmental professional can help keep your indoor air free of allergens that can cause you to be uncomfortable during allergy season.