It is no surprise that many of us feel that our home is the safest place for us and our family members. Unfortunately, what many of us don’t always realize is that it can also become a haven for allergens — things that may trigger individuals to develop allergies or aggravate them if they’re already present.

Allergens can come in many shapes and forms. These items range from dust mites and pet dander to mold and other pollutants that may be found indoors. As with any allergy, the first step in reducing the risk of exposure is to identify the source of the allergen. In our home, this could mean checking the air conditioning system, making sure carpets are not tickling dust or mites, or testing for mold if there are any noticeable moisture issues.

Once identified, it is important to take adequate precautions in order to reduce or even avoid potential allergic reactions. Sealing leaking windows and doors and improving ventilation will help prevent entry of outdoor allergens into our house. Also, limiting pets to certain areas (such as outdoors) or vacuuming frequently can reduce pet dander. Regular use of air filtration systems with high-efficiency filters should also be considered.

Although it can be challenging to limit the many environmental triggers that we face while inside our houses, it’s important to be mindful of their presence and try our best to keep ourselves and other family members safe from exposure. Learning how to identify and limit our potential exposure can make all the difference when it comes to managing our indoor allergies — helping us take back control so we can continue to experience the safety that our homes bring us.

As allergens have become more and more prevalent in our homes, it’s more important than ever to take steps to keep our homes as safe, healthy, and comfortable as possible. While our homes can be a haven of safety and comfort, they can also be a haven of potentially harmful allergens that can trigger allergies.

Understanding the sources of allergens in your home is the first step to allergen prevention. Allergens, or substances capable of causing an allergic reaction, can be found both indoors and outdoors. Indoor allergens can include molds, dust mites, pet dander, and even cockroaches. Outdoor sources of allergens include pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds and stinging insects.

The best way to keep your home free from allergens is to practice good housekeeping habits. Regular vacuuming with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter and dampening or wiping down surfaces weekly with a damp cloth can help reduce indoor allergen levels. Additionally, using air purifiers to remove pollutants from the air may be helpful if a person is particularly sensitive.

For people living with pets, regular bathing and grooming can help control pet dander in the home. Additionally, cleaning hardwood floors and upholstery weekly can help reduce pet dander buildup. It’s also important to select hypoallergenic pet foods that are free from artificial chemicals or synthetic ingredients that can further aggravate allergies.

Finally, regular inspection and maintenance of your home’s ventilation system is crucial for reducing your home’s individual allergen concentrations. Leaky windows or poorly maintained filters in your HVAC system can allow for excess moisture transportation as well as entry points for outside irritants. Having these regularly checked by a professional HVAC technician can reduce the likelihood of an influx of allergens in your home.

Your home should be the safest place for you and other family members but unfortunately, it can also be a haven for allergy triggers if not properly maintained. Taking preventative measures such as practicing good housekeeping habits and hiring an HVAC technician for inspections are essential for keeping allergens at bay and protecting against potential allergic reactions.