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Quiz: Test Your Indoor Allergy IQ

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What triggers most allergy symptoms indoors?

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What triggers most allergy symptoms indoors?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

About 20 million Americans are allergic to dust mites, tiny bugs you can't see that thrive in dust. Their waste products cause sneezing, coughing, and more. But at least they don’t bite.

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Where in your house do most dust mites live?

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Where in your house do most dust mites live?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Avoid dust mites -- and allergy symptoms -- by washing bed linens weekly in hot water, at between 130 and 140 F.

 

If you keep your water heater set lower to prevent scaldings, you could wash your bedding at a laundromat.

 

Also use dust-proof mattress and pillow covers.

The more fur a pet sheds, the worse your pet allergy will be. 

The more fur a pet sheds, the worse your pet allergy will be. 

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Cat or dog fur itself isn’t usually the problem for people with a pet allergy. What most likely makes you sneeze is your pet's dander -- tiny bits of dead skin that Fluffy and Fido shed. Some people also react to proteins in animal saliva or urine.

 

Allergy tests can pinpoint exactly what makes you sneeze inside your home -- dogs, rabbits, dust mites, or something else entirely. You don't want to ditch your dog if you are only allergic to dust mites!

 

Inside your home, mold can grow…

Inside your home, mold can grow…

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Mold isn’t a big allergy problem indoors unless spores (mold’s version of seeds) can find a damp spot to grow. Then, look out, almost any damp spot will do. That includes wood, carpet, paper, and insulation.

 

Clean up mold where it grows and fix the cause of the moisture, such as a leaky pipe. To keep indoor humidity low, vent bathrooms and dryers, use a dehumidifier, and run vent fans when you cook, clean, and wash dishes.

 

Which pet causes most allergies?

Which pet causes most allergies?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Cat dander is the number-one cause of pet allergy, affecting about 10 million Americans. About twice as many people are allergic to cats as to dogs.

 

Can cleaning house air ducts stop a dust allergy?

Can cleaning house air ducts stop a dust allergy?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Cleaning air ducts may be big business, but there's no proof that it improves health. Even for those with allergies, it's not a must-do. That's because dust in dirty air ducts doesn't usually travel back into the living areas of the house.

 

One rare exception is when ducts are so clogged with debris that particles shoot into your home with each blast from your furnace or air conditioner.

How often should someone with indoor allergies vacuum?

How often should someone with indoor allergies vacuum?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Even with special filters, vacuum cleaners can blow around dust and pet hair while they suck it up. So if you can, get someone who isn’t allergic to do the job.

 

If you're stuck cleaning, your best bet is a central vacuum system in the house. Next best is a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter or double-layer bag. It should also have a sealed unit that won't spew dust, as well as at least 12 amps of debris-sucking power.

 

Wear a dust mask, too.

 

Do allergy shots get rid of allergies forever?

Do allergy shots get rid of allergies forever?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Allergy shots get to the root of the problem, the body’s immune system. (Allergy drugs just treat symptoms, so you feel better.) A full series of shots can take three years or more.

 

For some people, shots stop their symptoms for good. Others need to keep on getting shots to keep effects like sneezing and itching at bay.

 

What should you get rid of to help fight dust mite allergies?

What should you get rid of to help fight dust mite allergies?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Carpeting is a breeding ground for dust mites. It's easier to clean them off wood floors.

 

Throw rugs are OK if you can wash them or have them cleaned often. 

 

If you’re allergic to your dog or cat, you have to get rid of it.

If you’re allergic to your dog or cat, you have to get rid of it.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

The first line of allergy defense is to avoid triggers, which is why your doctor may tell you to find Tiger a new home.

 

Many people with allergies do live happily with four-legged friends, using smart tactics. Banish the pet from your bedroom.  Install a central air filter (and run the heat or a/c at least four hours a day). Wash walls often and clean carpets with a HEPA-filter vacuum.

 

Perhaps hardest, avoid petting or hugging your pet. You might also ask your doctor about allergy shots.

 

You can kill dust mites in stuffed toys by…

You can kill dust mites in stuffed toys by…

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Seal the toys in plastic bags and place in the freezer for at least five hours. Then rinse them in warm water and put them in the dryer to get rid of the dead mites.

 

Or try heat. Wash the toys every other day in hot water, when you're probably washing a load of kids' clothes, anyway. Dry them at the hottest setting.

 

Why is eating in the bedroom an allergy problem?

Why is eating in the bedroom an allergy problem?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Cockroach allergies are creepy but common. They're caused by the bugs’ body parts or by proteins found in their droppings or saliva.

 

People with cockroach allergies need to keep a super-clean house. That means keeping food and garbage tightly lidded, putting away pet food, washing dishes right after a meal, and eating only in dining areas, for sure not bedrooms.

 

Why do humidifiers sometimes make allergies worse?

Why do humidifiers sometimes make allergies worse?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

The ideal humidity level in your home should be between 30% and 45%. If you go much higher, dust mites and mold start to multiply! A cheap device called a hygrometer can measure the moisture.

 

Christmas trees can cause an allergic reaction when…

Christmas trees can cause an allergic reaction when…

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

To avoid touching off a mold allergy, wipe down the tree’s trunk with a mix of 1 part beach to 20 parts water.

 

Also, to be sure you don’t bring in any outdoor allergy triggers, use a leaf blower to blast any pollen off the tree while it’s still outside. 

 

A dust bunny that weighs the same as a paper clip has…

A dust bunny that weighs the same as a paper clip has…

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Most often a gram of dust (the weight of a paper clip) contains about 500 dust mites, but it can hold as many as 19,000 mites.

 

The bugs feed on flakes of human skin and animal dander. The average adult human sheds enough skin every day to feed a million mites.

 

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Your Score:     You correctly answered   out of   questions.

Congratulations! Your indoor allergy know-how is nothing to sneeze at!

You did OK -- but aren't you itching to learn a bit more?

Hmmm, try dusting off some info about allergies and trying again.

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