Allergy Prevention

Mother and daughter cleaning

1. Turf the Carpet

Carpet may feel cushy under your feet or an interior design choice, but in the bedroom where you spend around eight hours of sleep, not the best choice. Carpet can be a haven for dust mites. If installed over concrete the carpeting can interfere with the evaporation of moisture. This contributes to more dust mites and mould. Both thrive in high levels of humidity and even more so in our tropical environment. Choose bare floors or area rugs. Rugs can still house dust mites, but a better option to fully carpeted floors. Vacuum at least once a week, but if possible, daily.

Random Fact+ If un-vacuumed, carpet can gain several pounds of dirt throughout the year.

2. Turn on your A/C

Running your air-conditioner is a great way to prevent pollen from entering your home, as long as your filter is clean. Air-conditioning benefit allergy sufferers by reducing the humidity in your house while keeping allergens out. The filter rating on an air-conditioner will give you an indication as to how well it will trap particles. Filter values range from 1 to 20 and trap particles from 0.3 microns to 10 microns. The higher the value the better it can trap smaller particles. A lot of us are concerned about the electricity costs associated with running the air-conditioning for long periods of time. Another option is to at least leave your windows closed until the afternoon. The morning is when pollen is often at their highest. Avoid using the fan as it blows any pollen around the room.

Random Fact+ Without air-conditioning, we would not have certain medications today. Some medications could only be studied and developed in a cool environment. 

3. Air out new purchases

Like that new smell? It might trigger your allergies. Packages for your new TV or computer can emit chemical fumes causing runny noses and itchy eyes. Most irritants given off new products will fade over time. Breathing low levels of these fumes over long periods of time can increase the risk of health problems. It is best to take new products out of their packaging to allow them to air out. Air them out in your garage or a well-ventilated area before you bring it into your home.

Random Fact+ Other than newly packaged products acetone and benzene, which is used in plastics and resin, are examples of other common chemicals in your home that emit these fumes.

4. Houseplants? Think again.

Indoor plants are great for cheering you up on a dreary day and can improve your air quality but can be surprisingly irritating. Many indoor plants are the culprit for mould spores that live in their warm and wet dirt. Avoid overwatering them to keep the mould away. Keep an eye out for rotten leaves as it can be a sign of overwatering or disease. By the way fake or silk plants are not a good substitute. They are notorious dust collectors.

Random Fact+ The Dracaena aka ‘Janet Craig’ is an allergy friendly plant and is renowned for trapping allergens in its leaves.

5. Scrub your bathroom

You know that green stuff in your bathroom? It gives off spores that become airborne causing sneezing, wheezing and other allergic reactions. Give your bathroom a good scrub with a combination of a cup of bleach to 4 litres of water. This will remove the mildew from surfaces. Other damp places in the bathroom also develop mildew like your bathmat. We recommend after use hang your bathmat over your shower rod to dry and wash weekly. Besides scrubbing your bathroom and making sure you dry your bathmat, make sure your exhaust fan works and change the air filters regularly. This will help improve the conditions in your bathroom to stop mold growing in the first place.

Random Fact+ Mildew or Mold can be black, green, greyish, white, or even blue. 

6. Give Teddy + Friends a bath

Your child’s favourite teddy might be harbouring allergy-producing dust mites. If you can manage to get Teddy away, you can eliminate the mites by washing your child’s teddy weekly in hot water. You could always spot clean or freeze clean. Spot cleaning is difficult, but you can kill off dust mites by using laundry detergent with warm water and wipe down the plush toy. It’s best to place the toy in the dry for a few minutes, preferably in a pillowcase to get rid of any mites still hanging out.

Random Fact+ Nearly 100,000 mites can live in a single square yard of carpet. BTW a yard is just a little shorter than a metre – I know it’s a very American term.

7. Exercise later in the day

You are a morning person and like to get your exercise out of the way for the day, but your allergies act up during your work out? Between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. is the prime time for pollen counts to be at their highest. Consider moving your work out to later in the day to avoid the flowering plants that would aggravate your allergies.

Random Fact+ Regular exercise can help contain allergies. Physical activity results in a strong blood flow which allows allergens to be moved quickly through your body and be eliminated through your kidneys and skin.

8. Leave your shoes at the door

These boots are made for walking’ and tracking in pollutants, allergens, and toxins into your home. Allergy sufferers should keep their shoes in the foyer, garage, or laundry after you have wiped them briskly on a mat. This will help keep the spores that would otherwise be brought in with your shoes. Also, if you store you shoes in a closest with coats and jackets you may want to reconsider this as pollen can spread to your coats as well. 

Random Fact+ Some people are allergic to shoes. This is usually due to a reaction to the materials used in the shoe. Contact usually produces a dermatitis reaction.