Substances in the environment, known as allergens, are the cause of allergic reactions that affect up to thirty-five percent of people at some point in their lives.
The most common causes of allergic reaction are:
- House dust mite protein
Allergic reactions can affect people in different ways. Swellings, itchy eyes, sneezing and dry skin are just some of the complaints. Worryingly, allergies are on the increase. Back in the fifties, only three percent of children suffered from eczema. Fast-forward to the present day, and a whopping twenty percent of children suffer from eczema. Experts have suggested that eczema is a modern day result of the pollutants and allergens in our environment.
Living with an allergy is frustrating, but there are ways of combating the problem. Read on to find out our top seven ways to make your home allergy free.
Introduce Hard Floors
Dust mites love carpets. They eat dead skin cells from humans and animals which collect in carpets and can live quite happily for months at a time. The best way to combat this problem is to not provide them with a home to live in. Swap your carpets for hardwood or linoleum floors and reduce living quarters for dust mites.
If you’re not keen on the thought of hardwood in all rooms, you could introduce large washable rugs instead. Alternatively, opt for short pile carpets and vacuum your rooms on a weekly basis.
Get the Right Vacuum Cleaner
Investing in a decent vacuum might not be the most glamourous way of spending your money, but your health will thank you for it. Choosing a vacuum with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter will cut out around 99.7 percent of dust in a room, so if you’re an asthma sufferer, a vacuum with a HEPA filter is a must. You can even buy vacuums with HEPA-grade weave, so you won’t have to worry about dust when you’re emptying your cleaner either.
Freeze Soft Toys
Many mums and dads swear by freezing soft toys to help alleviate allergy problems in their children. Although there’s no hard evidence to support this theory, it is a cheap and easy solution and well worth a try if your children are suffering.
Freezing toys kills the dust mites inside that have made the toy their home. After freezing the toy, you should wash it at sixty degrees to rid it of allergen residue.
Kitchens, bathrooms and other humid areas can be prone to mould. The spores released from mouldy areas can float around your home and stick to other areas. Storing food in airtight containers to be stored safely in your fridge and regularly cleaning rooms where humidity can be a problem is one way of managing mould.
Another solution is to introduce air conditioners or ventilation fans in the rooms. Open windows if you’re having a hot bath or shower and don’t forget to air the kitchen if your cooking has created a warm atmosphere.
Clean Your Pets
Dander is the soft flakes of skin that dogs shed and is the proteins in cats’ bodily secretions that aggravate allergies.
Over a million children in the United Kingdom are allergic to dander, but there are ways of managing this problem. Keep your pet clean by washing him every week and discourage him from sleeping in your bedroom. You might want to create a safe and warm place for your pet to sleep in your garden, reducing the time your pet spends indoors.
If you’re sensitive to pollen, keep the windows in your home closed between the hours of 10.00am and 5.00pm. This is when pollen levels are at their highest. In the warm summer months, it can be easy to forget to close windows, especially in the bedroom. This can lead to a restless night as you deal with pollen that has settled on your bed linen. Before you go to bed, you could consider having a shower, to wash the pollen off your skin and out of your hair.
Another way to reduce pollen in the home is to use an air filter system. These are inexpensive and an effective way to reduce pollen and dust, especially in the bedroom.
Maintain Clean Furnishings
It’s not just carpets you need keep clean. Cushions and curtains also need to be washed on a regular basis. Don’t allow pets to sit on sofas and change pet bedding weekly.
When you’re doing your chores, don’t forget to wear gloves and a mask to avoid breathing in pollens and dust when you’re cleaning.
Making the effort to keep a clean, dust-free environment at home is time-consuming. But if you’re serious about managing the allergies in your home, it’ll be worth the effort. Rope in the help of other family members and draw up a schedule, so you can ensure no cushion is left unturned in your quest to maintain an allergy-free home.
Graham Doyle is the director of Pilgrim Payne & Co, who have developed an excellent reputation as specialist cleaners of soft furnishings. Pilgrim Payne & Co are officially recognised as a supplier to the HM The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales.