House dust is the major cause of allergy in people with yearlong runny or blocked nose and/or sneezing. In addition to these allergic reactions, dust can trigger and irritate asthma and eczema.
Allergies are the result of an overactive and over-performing immune system. There are many different types of allergies. Some allergies are genetic. If one of more parent suffers with eczema, asthma or allergies, it is more likely that any children will suffer one or more of these too.
Some allergies are contact related and in order to have an allergic reaction you need to have had contact with the allergen. Eczema, asthma and hay fever (allergic rhinitis) are all considered forms of allergy.
Almost all asthma in young people is allergic asthma. This means having inherited genes which makes it possible to get asthma; plus allergy-producing things in the environment, such as house dust mites, cats, or dogs; as 'trigger' factors.
A speck of dust may contain fabric fibres, human skin, bacteria, animal danders, pollen, grains, moulds spores, food particles, mites and mites-droppings. Mites cannot be seen without a microscope. They thrive in warm and humid conditions. Because they feed on skin scales, they love bedding, carpets, upholstered furniture, clothing, closets and car seats. They usually survive ordinary vacuuming because they burrow deep and are equipped with sucking pads on their feet.
Rigorous vacuuming every day can help to reduce the amount of mites; I don't know about you, but personally I find every vacuum cleaner 'smells' of dust, no matter how many times you empty the dust bag (one of the most tedious and dusty tasks around!) or change the filter. We use a soft-broom for day-to-day cleaning of our wooden floor covering, but that's a hard task on carpets we’re afraid.
Carpets - they provide a breeding ground for mites. One square meter of carpet can contain up to 100.000 dust mites.
However, the cheapest alternative smooth floorings are made of PVC, also known as vinyl, which is a major source of toxic and sometimes persistent substances in the environment. Some research also suggest the softeners in PVC itself may contribute to asthma incidence.
Simple tips for Healthy Homes
These following tips are not only beneficial for people suffering from Asthma, eczema or allergies, they will have a healthy effect on all of us.
One of the most simple ones is: VENTILATE
It still amazes us that some people don't ventilate their rooms/homes just once a day for say only 5 - 10 minutes (even in Winter!). Opening a window for a small period of time will get rid of excessive moist, dust, tobacco and other 'bad' smells, and bring in some nice fresh air. Of course you can buy 'fresh-air' from a bottle/spray, but do we really want that? Fresh air from ventilation is FREE and will do your home and yourself a world of good.
Another tip, is to make sure the humidity in your home stays at a comfortable level. Not just good for your wooden flooring (to prevent extra expansion or shrinkage) but also very good for yourself. Dry air will dry out your skin and especially for eczema sufferers not a good thing to have. See our tips and advice page for more info on healthy house climate