One in five of us will experience allergies at some time during our lives, many triggered by biological or chemical substances found indoors. Although most cases are moderate or mildly irritating, some people actually die from allergic reactions. Allergies are also suspected of playing a key role in triggering asthma attacks.
The major sources of indoor allergies are dust mites, fungi, pets, and cockroaches. The dust mites is a microscopic organism that lives primarily in carpeting, pillows, mattresses and upholstery. Fungi release allergen-containing spores and other substances.
Households dust is not just plain old dirt. It’s a collection of dead skin cells, fibre and the bodies and faeces of insect, especially the dust mite. This tiny bug thrives in bedding material and upholstery and feeds on the skin cells we shed naturally.
Also, people who think they are allergic to feathers in pillows, comforters, quilts, down jackets or sleeping bags are probably allergic to these mites that lie on the feathers, and not the feathers themselves.
The mite itself is harmless, but it can wreak havoc on people who are allergic to it or its faeces. And roach parts and faeces are an indoor health hazard in urban areas. If allergies force you to get rid of your pet, remember that the dander pets leave behind may remain even after the animals themselves are removed and continue to stir up these allergy attacks.
Several changes in the way we live indoor may affect the level of indoor allergy-producers (allergen) – higher indoor temperatures, reduced ventilation, wall-to-wall carpeting and cool-wash detergents that launder bedding in temperatures too low to kill dust mites.
If you suffer from indoor allergies, here are a few helpful hints :
- Pull up the wall-to-wall carpeting.
- Wash bedclothes weekly in hot water and cover your mattress and pillow in plastic.
- Dust and vacuum your home at least twice weekly.
- Bedrooms are notorious traps for allergens, so clean those rooms even more often and to make that task easier remove carpeting, heavy drapes, dust ruffles, and venetian blinds where dust settles.
- Zippered plastic covers for your mattresses, box springs and pillows may also help.