Hidden Allergens at Home

It’s a common misconception that the outdoors, with its pollen-rich grass and flowers, is an allergy-sufferer’s natural enemy. The reality is there are numerous places where allergens can hide inside your home. Identify and maintain these areas to help manage your environment and reduce your exposure to allergens.

Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuum cleaners are essential to controlling allergen levels at home. Depending on the vacuum cleaner, though, it could actually be releasing allergens back into the air. A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter is good for people with allergies as it provides more effective air filtration. When you vacuum, make sure to vacuum with slower passes so you’re not sending dust airborne with sudden movements.

Air Conditioners

Using an air conditioner is beneficial if you suffer from seasonal allergies. Closing windows and doors prevents pollen from entering your home and the unit can recirculate filtered air on the right setting. However, this is only true so long as your air-conditioner’s filter is clean. A dirty filter will offer poor filtration and and reduced air quality, so clean your filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Similarly, wipe down the blades and cages of any fans you use so dust isn’t recirculated back into the air.

Furniture & Upholstery

Upholstered furniture and fabric curtains and blinds add style to the home, but should be cleaned to remove dust build-up. Be careful of over-saturating your upholstery when cleaning it to avoid encouraging mold growth. If you would like easy-to-clean furnishings, opt for leather furniture and choose shutters or timber, aluminium, or PVC blinds for your window coverings.

Pets

Four-legged friends bring a lot of joy to our lives, but they could also be bringing allergens into your home. Pets that are allowed outdoors get allergen particles on their feet and fur, and track them back into the house. If it’s not possible for you to keep your pets as inside-only pets, make sure you follow a regular bathing schedule for them. You can make life with allergies and pets more manageable with some pet-friendly flooring solutions.

Humidity Level

Too damp, too dry – neither is ideal when it comes to the air in your home. An overly humid environment breeds mold and dust mites. Air that is too dry dries up your sinuses and prevents them from being able to properly filter out allergens. A hygrometer can be used to accurately gauge humidity levels in your home. Alternatively, look out for mold on your walls or ceiling as a sign of high humidity and cracked paint as an indicator of low humidity. Alleviate overly dry environments by using a humidifier, air-drying laundry indoors, or setting out some decorative vessels filled with water so it can evaporate into the air. If your home is too humid, open windows for ventilation, especially when cooking, or try using a dehumidifier.

Are wooden floors better than carpets when it comes to allergies?

The debate continues so let’s look at the facts

Carpet comes under attack because of 1) the chemicals used to make it and 2) because it traps dirt and allergens. However, what may have been true in years past is no longer true in modern carpeting.

THE ALLERGY ISSUE

Common misconceptions are that carpets can harbor dirt and allergens, but there are no reports that link carpeting with asthma or an increase in allergies. Rather than trapping particulates, which is seen as a bad thing, carpeting prevents such things from becoming airborne. Frequent, thorough vacuuming sucks allergens out of carpeting. Continue reading “Are wooden floors better than carpets when it comes to allergies?”

Wool, the best carpet choice for Allergy and Asthma sufferers

There are many benefits to natural wool fibre.  Not only is it incredibly soft and comfortable, there is also the benefit of natural wool fibre being fire retardant, eco-friendly and biodegradable. Above all of this, the biggest benefit of natural wool fibre is to your health.

The two main health issues that seem to affect a person’s decision on floor coverings are allergies and asthma and both of these health issues are influenced by the quality of air we breathe.  There has been a long held perception that carpet has a negative impact on air quality and that perception has led people to make drastic changes in their flooring and avoid carpet all together.  So, it was great news to finally have this perception put to rest when in 2005, The German Asthma and Allergy Foundation (DAAB) released their findings showing conclusively that carpet reduces dust in the air to more than half that found above hard surfaces.  Some people with sensitive skin or skin conditions such as Eczema react to synthetic fibres but for allergy and asthma sufferers, it is the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and overall particulate matter (small particles of matter that float in the air we breathe) which is of main concern.  So whether it be sensitive skin or sensitive airways you can’t go past natural wool fibre for optimal health.

How does natural wool fibre help those with allergies?

For those that suffer allergies the biggest issue seems to be the dust that is generated. It is not so much the dust itself, it is this little creature called a dust mite and it is not so much the dust mite itself that is the biggest cause of the problem, it is more their waste.  It is the faeces of the dust mite that contains proteins that when we breath it in, we absorb these proteins which a significant percentage of our population are allergic too.  Now whether or not you are allergic to dust mite poo or not, I’m sure most people are not fond of the idea of absorbing in anyway, another creatures faecal matter.  For hard floors the dust is kicked back up into the air, for carpet the dust it trapped.

Natural wool fibre is also non-synthetic, so it is easy on your skin.  Through its coil like fibres it dissipates moisture making it hypo-allergenic. It is resistant to bacteria, mould and mildew which is another trigger for many people with allergies.  The lack of moisture in wool makes it harder for dust mites to survive and thrive.

How does natural wool fibre help those with asthma?

Although wool carpet will reduce the dust mites population, if there is humidity in the air they will continue to slowly multiply.  Carpet is ideal for limiting the dust mites impact on our health by keeping it and its defecation predominately out of the air we breathe and in the carpet.  With a good vacuum twice a week (with a quality non-bristle vacuum cleaner) and a professional clean every 12-18 months, we keep the dust mite population at bay and our air clean and healthy.

A good carpet not only limits dust mites and their waste in the air we breathe but also traps other particulate matter (small particles of matter that float in the air) such as smoke produced by cigarettes, the fire place or just general cooking, chemicals produced by cleaning agents, cosmetics, deodorants, gases produced by photocopiers, laser printers and new building material; as well as toxins such as sulphur dioxide and nitric oxide.

For asthma sufferers it is important they get the best air they can and a well maintained wool carpet is the best choice for flooring in order to accomplish that goal.

Conclusion

 

If you look after your carpet, it will look after you, and a well maintained woollen carpet can continue purifying your air for up to 30 years, so talk to the flooring experts at Andersen’s about your flooring options so you and your family can live in health and style.