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When it comes to the various pollutants that can muck up the air, there are around 200. But they generally fall into four categories. Here they are in all their nastiness and splendor for your awareness.


Puppies out gathering pollen and additional allergens to bring back to us. But they’re too cute to be mad right?

We love Sparky. And I’m certain Sparky love us back. But sometimes that loves comes at the cost of our allergies being aggravated by pet dander.

Pet dander is tiny, sometimes microscopic specs of skin from your animal.

Regardless of what you’ve heard, even hairless animals can shed skin and make allergies flare-up. According to the Institute of Medicine, “There is no such thing as a non-allergen dog or cat”.


When your sweet potatoes look like this, time to pass.

Mold is microscopic parasitic fungi. (Not fun at all!) Mold spores are a common trigger for allergies.

The CDC stated published findings in 2004 that “the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition.

Dust Mites


Dust Mites are microscopic critters that live in bedding, clothes or any place they can hide. If you haven’t been grossed out enough with this article so far brace yourself. It’s not actually mites that are often making us sneeze. It’s their droppings.


Pollen spores colorized look almost fun and friendly. Don’t play with these without an air mask. Courtesy of Wikipedia commons.

Springtime brings flowers. And flowers bring pollen.

According to, “Pollen is one of the most common allergens in the United States. Pollen is an airborne allergen, which is picked up and carried by the wind. Various trees, grasses and weeds create pollen, which can cause hay fever, irritate your eyes and skin.

How to Guard Against These

  1. Animals – Keep your animals clean and be careful where you let them roam. Get them bathed regularly
  2. Mold – Keep your environment clean and dry. Mold thrives in damp environments. Clean and disinfect your living spaces to cut down on mold.
  3. Dust Mites – Clean your linens and bedding regularly and dry them in the dryer on hot. Consider mite-proof covers for bedding.
  4. Pollen – Avoid exposure to areas with pollinating flowers and keep an eye on the pollen count. Consider an allergy mask if you need to spend extended periods of time in high pollen areas.

Institute of Medicine, Division of Health Promotion, Indoor Air and Disease Prevention. Clearing the Air: Asthma and Indoor Air Exposures. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2000. Kanchongkittiphon W, et al. Indoor Environmental Exposures of Asthma: An Update to the 2000 Review by the Institute of MedicineEnvironmental Health Perspectives. 2015; 123: 6-20.