Fact vs. Fiction: Can Carpets Accumulate Dust Mites and Other Allergens?

Fluffy carpet on the wooden floor

More than a thousand people die from allergy reactions in the UK. Usually, it happens when the airways swell severely that the person can no longer breathe properly. 

Indeed, allergies can kill. If not, they can lead to chronic symptoms that will be both an economic and personal burden. It then begs the question: how can you prevent them from happening? Is it true that carpets can trap allergens such as dust mites and pet dander? 

Common Causes of Allergies in the UK

How do allergies develop? It begins with the immune system. The body’s primary defense against threats is sensitive to things they cannot recognize.

Take, for example, when you inhale pollen. If your immune system views them as a danger to your body, it will get into action. In the process, it releases a substance called histamine. 

The purpose of histamine is to widen your capillaries. It will then allow your “soldiers” to engage and fight these threats. The problem is they also create allergy symptoms. These can range from sneezing to wheezing and, in severe cases, anaphylaxis. 

Even the most harmless thing can trigger an allergic reaction. It’s also possible for a person to develop symptoms when exposed to an allergen. However, they won’t result in the next exposure. 

You might also have more than one allergy. In the UK, almost half of the sufferers react to two or more allergens. More than 5 million people had asthma in 2017, while allergic rhinitis affected at least 10% of adults and 40% of kids in 2013.

Both allergic rhinitis and asthma tend to occur with exposure to non-food allergens. These include dust mites, pet dander, dust, and pollen. Over 2 million, meanwhile, are living with food allergy. About 600,000 of them have coeliac disease.

fluffy white carpet

Can Carpets Cause Allergies?

Many people have a long-held belief that carpets can impact indoor air quality. They can also trap the common non-food allergens.

A 2018 study in Environmental Research and Public Health revealed no sufficient type of research showed any adverse health effects of carpets. This is especially true in relation to allergens. 

The researchers, though, warned that carpets are three-dimensional. They can still have sections that can “act as sinks,” collecting allergens. In the end, they recommend exercising caution when using carpets. That includes hiring professional carpet cleaners in London.

You have another worry when it comes to carpets as well: bacteria. One study even suggests they can be dirtier than the toilet seat when it comes to the number of microorganisms present in your carpet. 

One of the sources of these pathogens are humans themselves. The moment you walk on your carpet, you are shedding skin cells, which host hundreds of bacteria.

Some of these pathogens can be harmful such as E. coli. They can lead to symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, and diarrhea. They can even be life-threatening for high-risk groups like children and older adults. 

More research is necessary to determine whether carpets truly become repositories for allergens. You don’t need to wait for them, though, to know carpets, like all other things, require regular cleaning. After all, it’s always best to be more cautious than feel sorry later.