Indoor Allergens - Top Tips
If you are suffering from an allergy to house dust mite, pets or moulds have a look at our top tips that could help ease some of your symptoms.
* Allergic reactions to house dust mite cause sneezing, wheezing, runny nose, tight chest and skin rashes, avoidance measures are key as part of a management programme.
* House dust mites make happy bedfellows, did you know, it is estimated that 2 million house dust mites live in a double bed. By using anti-allergy bedding covers that have been scientifically tested, you can significantly reduce contact with the allergen.
* Using duvets and pillows that contain material in which house dust mites cannot live can play a major part in avoidance.
* The house dust mite thrives in a warm moist environment. An electric blanket containing anti-allergy material will not only keep your bed warm, but house dust mites will not thrive in a nice dry bed.
* Padded headboards attract and hold dust, vacuum them regularly or opt for a wooden one.
* Indoor air quality is often as much as 20 times more polluted than the air outside. Common allergens are house dust mite, mould spores, pet dander, and pollen, and chemical pollutants are pesticides from timber treatments, tobacco smoke and chemicals from household cleaning products.
* Keep your home well ventilated by opening windows and by slightly lowering the temperature of the central heating you can greatly improve the air quality and reduce indoor allergens.
* Air conditioning is becoming increasingly popular but it is important to remember that these systems must be properly maintained otherwise mould can become established in the system and will be spread around the building by the very action of the air conditioning system itself.
* House dust mites can survive at quite low temperatures and up to over 34C, but they need moisture to survive which is why our UK humid climate is so good. Almost all temperatures in our homes offer the ideal environment for house dust mites to live in but you can make your home difficult for them to survive by reducing humidity and taking the following steps: air your bed everyday by hanging your duvet or blankets over a chair, open windows and close doors on all steamy rooms like the bathroom and kitchen.
* To further reduce house dust mites and their allergen, vacuum carpets everyday and curtains, and fabric three-piece suites three times a week with a vacuum cleaner that has a Hepa filter.
* When replacing your three piece suite try to replace it with a leather or vinyl covered suite.
* It is quite fashionable nowadays to use cotton throws over fabric suites. These can be washed at least monthly on a 60-degree wash to kill any allergens gathered in the throw or you could use anti-allergy bedding that can be adapted to make covers encasing the suite.
* Soft toys are a favourite place for house dust mites to live in. By removing all but a favourite soft toy from the bedroom at night, you will lessen the house dust mites in your child’s room and bed. Every month, all soft toys should be either placed in the freezer for at least 24 hours and washed (in a pillow case) to remove the dead mites and their allergic droppings or washed at a temperature of 60C.
* Pollen can live in the carpet for three months, vacuum regularly with a cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter.
* Cat allergy is very common. Cat allergen is very light and sticky and stays around for months even after the cat is no longer around. Cat allergen sticks to carpeting, furnishings and walls, causing a problem for sufferers, regular washing down of walls and paintwork will help keep allergens down.
* Steam cleaning can make a great impact using a product that has been scientifically tested to ascertain its efficiency in removing allergens. Vacuuming the carpet after steam cleaning will completely remove dead mites and allergen.
* Regularly check and clean bathrooms. Kitchens and bathrooms are ideal breeding grounds for moulds to grow, as are windowsills, check these areas regularly. Rather than using chemical cleaners to remove mould try white vinegar or borax for cleaning, as this will remove the mould without increasing the chemical pollution within the home.
* Regularly check fruit in the fruit basket removing any aging fruit as this will be a target for mould.
* Indoor houseplants are another source of moulds. Place pea-shingle on top of the soil and this will stop mould spores from settling.
* Always use an electrostatic duster or damp dust, as this will stop dust particles becoming air-borne. Dust particles can remain airborne for several hours irritating the nose, eyes and chest.