A new report from the National Institutes of Health has found that across the United States, more than 90 percent of homes have three or more detectable allergens.
The study found that in about 73 percent of homes, at least one allergen was found at an elevated level and exposure to several elevated allergens was most prevalent in rural areas.
Elevated allergen levels can make existing asthma and allergy symptoms worse and experts say treating these conditions effectively often includes removing the trigger.
Despite higher levels of allergens in rural areas, rural Americans were actually less likely to have overreactive immune responses to those allergens. Overreactive responses are associated with developing asthma and allergies.
The study found that the presence of pets and pests had a major influence on high levels of indoor allergens. Mobile homes, older and rental homes, and homes in rural areas also increased the likelihood of elevated exposure to multiple allergens.
The study is the largest indoor allergen study to-date.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.