Spring is just around the corner. And it's that time of year for some that suffer from allergies. Allergies are the most common reason why people tend to switch out their chemical based products with plant based, natural cleaners. What we don't realise is that over half of the chemicals found in our cleaning and body products are known to cause both skin and respiratory irritation so it makes sense to remove them.
But what can we do around the home to help keep our home allergy free. We called the big guns in, Dr Ryan Harvey at House Call Doctor, who admits that although it's impossible to avoid things around the home and therefore stop allergies there are ways to keep your home allergy free.
Why your home can trigger allergy symptoms
Unfortunately, your home is also the home of many indoor allergy triggers known as allergens. These allergens can cause a reaction when you encounter them as they are foreign to your body. Indoor allergens can be anything from dust mites to pet hair, mould, houseplants (pollen), cleaning and body products and even certain fabrics.
The problem with these indoor allergens is they can cause allergic symptoms and reactions in susceptible people. If someone starts to experience persistent sneezing, a runny nose, wheezing, or watering eyes, they may have come into contact with something they are allergic too.
So what are the ways for you can clear your home of potential allergens
1. Reduce exposure
The best way to stop reactions to common household allergens is to reduce your family’s exposure to them. If you’re always sneezing past a certain houseplant, move it outside or into an area where you don’t come into contact with it as often. The same with fabrics or certain washing powders, if they’re upsetting you or your family you might have to look at changing.
2. Be aware of pets
Pets (mainly cats and dogs) can be tricky as they often leave hair on the furniture and track in dirt from outside. However, the real danger of allergic reactions that comes with owning an animal is actually the sweat, skin, and salvia cells (called dander) that live on their shredded hair. These have the highest amounts of allergens and even people who are ok around cats and their hair can become sensitive after constant exposure.
Birds feathers can cause unpleasant reactions and it’s also important to note that feathers can be found in quilts, pillows, and duvets. So, be aware if you’re waking up feeling average or irritated.
3. Know where to clean
Keeping your home clean and dry is by far the best way to rid the space of allergens. Even If you’re a neat and tidy person, it’s all about looking for areas that could attract dust mites or other allergens that you may not be aware of.
Damp or poorly ventilated environments allow mildew to thrive, so make sure you repair all leaking roofs and pipes as soon as you notice them. Avoid fitting out rooms with carpet if the floors below are concrete, as this can encourage damp floors and walkways. Don’t be afraid to use dehumidifiers in more moist areas just remember to empty them regularly.
4. Make sure you don’t have any unwanted guest
Pests such as dust mites and cockroaches can cause asthma and nasal allergies. Dust mites can live in carpets, sofas, bedding, curtains, and even stuffed animals. Where as cockroaches will thrive anywhere food and water is present.
Finding ways of reducing the population of these creepy crawlies, such as putting protective covers over your pillows, is the best way to avoid any reactions these guys might cause.
5. Watch what comes through the door
Look at what kind of allergens may be coming in from outside the home. By putting down a thick rubber mat outside your front door you can limit the number of allergens that are tracked in from outside. Although, it may not be as nice as your typically welcome mat, but your family will be better for it.
These are just a few ways you can limit allergens in the home and have less issues. If a serve allergic reaction occurs, make sure to call an ambulance as soon as the symptoms are affecting someone’s ability to breathe.
6. Reduce your exposure to household chemicals
Many chemicals found in cleaning and body products are known allergens and release toxic fumes that can send allergies into overdrive. Replacing them with plant based or more natural alternatives or making your own can help control what you are exposing yourself to. Be sure to patch test and stick to simple formulations with less ingredients to help reduce the chances of an allergic reaction.