Is your home making you sick?
Flowers, grass, weeds…are the commonly thought of culprits of those sneezing, itchy watering eyes, wheezing and runny nose allergies. However did you know that there are many indoor allergens and the restricted airflow of the house tends to intensify allergic reactions? Our home is our comfort zone and you can take preventative steps to identify and limit the source of allergies in the home.
- Dust and Dust Mites – Dust mites are tiny spider like insects invisible to the naked eye. Their droppings and carcasses are potent allergens. Did you know? According to Dr. Koehler of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, “The average bed contains 10,000 dust mites…A two year old pillow can get about one tenth of its weight from mites, dead mites, and their droppings”. To counteract this fact you can cover pillows, mattresses and box springs. Bedding should be washed often in very hot water (over 60 degrees Celsius). Frequent dusting with a damp cloth and routine vacuuming of carpets, curtains, furniture and mattresses will minimize any dust build up. Vacuums can actually redistribute dust around your home if the bag has not been changed in awhile. Ensure that any filtering devices in your home including your furnace filter and air vents are clean. If you live in a dusty environment you may want to purchase an electronic air cleaner. Similarly, a dehumidifier can be used to drop the humidity level to less than 40 percent, effectively minimizing dust buildup
- Pets – Animal dander contains skin, fur or hair shed or secreted from an animal. Many allergy suffers are not only allergic to animal dander but also animal saliva. Pets should be kept in restricted areas (i.e. not allowed into the bedroom or kept to the floor area). If your animals are outside a lot, you may want to bath them more frequently to cut down on the tracking in of irritating pollens. Frequent vacuuming (once to twice a week) will reduce the amount of airborne dander in your home.
- Moulds and Mildew – Showers, tubs, walls and floors can all accumulate moulds and mildews especially in the bathroom areas. Purchase a mildew remover and use it daily after taking a shower. Occasional airing out of the house and low humidity levels will help control mold. Potted plants can develop mould and should be examined frequently or avoided altogether.
- Household Chemicals – Chemicals inside your home can aggravate an allergic reaction by lowering your immune system or by irritating sensitive mucous membranes such as lungs, nasal passages, or eyes. Formaldehydes, paints, personal care products, and cleaning products are common aggravators. You may want to consider this before you pile on the cleaners in an effort to decrease other allergens. It may be doing you more harm than good.