I had never heard of National Indoor Allergy Week before, but I realised last week that it happens every year on the last week of October and focuses on raising awareness of the various things that can cause indoor allergies and sharing tips and tricks for sufferers about how to cope.
Indoor allergies can be triggered by house dust mites, mould, pets and their dander and household cleaning products, as well as those sensitive to an overdose of chemical and electrical exposure, to name just a few things.
There are absolutely loads of tips to make your home a happier place if you suffer from any of these allergies and the best place to go for information is the Allergy UK website at: http://www.allergyuk.org. Just type Indoor allergy in the search box and you’ll find lots of useful information.
The things which have helped me the most are:
- Get a new hoover – Allergy UK will recommend the best hoovers on their website and certainly our Medivac hoover has made a huge difference. Some hoovers will blast out dust so technically you’re just moving it around. Most of the new hoovers are very good; make sure you ask for one with the right filters so it traps dust inside. If you have asthma I believe some manufacturers will sell you a special filter hoover minus the VAT so do ask.
- Don’t make your bed each day – this one will be popular with all you kids out there. Dust mites love a warm cosy place to breed and feed. By making sure you air your bed each day you’ll make it harder for them to survive. Leave duvets folded back and move pillows to the end of the bed during the day. This will allow the bed to air fully. In the winter make sure you remember to fold the sheets and duvet back down and put in a hot water bottle so the sheets are not quite so toe curlingly cold when I get into bed at night.
- Leather sofa’s and blinds are better – try to avoid carpets and curtains as these can trap extra dust and mites. You can wipe down leather sofas and blinds with a damp or dust cloth. I do the dusting first a short time before I hoover. That way any dust I disperse during dusting has time to settle and then I get it with the hoover
- Mattress and pillow covers– These are fairly reasonably priced to buy and trap the mites so that they can’t get to your skin.
- Don’t use strong detergents – not only are these bad for the environment but they can also be very bad for your skin. There are lots of kinder brands such as Ecover and also natural substances like lemons and vinegar which can do a very good job at cleaning.
- Declutter – Make it easier for you to keep your home clean but cutting the clutter. It just collects dust and will make everything look tidier and more under control. It is also national declutter week so what better time to get started? And Yes Alex, it really is National Declutter week. Check it out here: www.storage.co.uk/national-declutter-week. If you have space display your favourite ornaments in a cabinet with glass doors.
- Watch out for damp and mould – Make sure your house is properly ventilated and that you get rid of damp and mould if you can. Keep bathroom windows open after a shower or bath and air rooms as much as possible.
I found another fantastic blog about the danger of using air fresheners in the home. Check out Micki Rose’s blog here.
These are just a few things that I could think of but I’m sure there are far more things you can do. If you have pets, keeping them and their fur cleaned will help. What do you do help with your indoor allergies?
I think our homes are far too sterile these days. A little bit of dirt never did anyone any harm. Studies have been done to prove that children who live on farms suffer far less illnesses and very few allergies. I also read somewhere recently that the mudlarks and men who work down the sewers in London keeping them all working smoothly are also a pretty healthy bunch. Could it be something to do with being exposed to bugs, germs and dirt which in turn gives them an ultra effective immune system?
So don’t be too clean. Don’t be fastidious about it, otherwise when you visit the homes of others who are not following the rules above you will suffer far worse symptoms. Anti-histamines or vacating the dusty room are really the only cures, so we just have to live with it and do the best we can.
What will you do this week to make your house a less allergenic one? Happy Indoor Allergy week everyone.