In the first part of our mini-series, we looked at asthma, what causes it and how to avoid triggering it by properly cleaning your home. However, it is not the only dangerous illness that we need to worry about. The untidy home, stuffed with belongings and dust hides many dangers to human health. One of the biggest concerns is allergies. There are many types of various triggers and unpleasant consequences. Let’s start from the beginning, which are allergies, and why are they so dangerous.
Allergies – Essence and Symptomatic
The allergy is a chronic disease caused by the overacting of the immune system to different stimulants. To simply put it, the body decides that harmless substance called allergens are a serious threat and produces special antibodies – immunoglobulin E (IgE) to get rid of them. And here is where the problems start. These antibodies will push out the allergens trou the nose, eyes and mouth which causes the allergy-related symptoms to pop out.
Before explaining what the common symptoms are, we need to understand what is a chronic disease and what are its triggers.
Chronic conditions are illnesses that have a long-lasting harmful effect on the human body and can occur repeatedly over time. Using different medicines people can suppress their symptoms but can rarely completely eliminate the chronic diseases. In the case of allergies, the inflammation period is determined by the type of allergens that are causing it:
- Food allergies
- Dust allergies
- Mould/Fungi allergies
- Pollen/Plant allergies
- Insect/Animal allergies
- Drug/Chemical allergies
- Latex allergies
- Allergic Rhinitis – sneezing and a runny nose;
- Conjunctivitis- itchy, red eyes, blurry vision;
- Hives – painfully itchy, red rash;
- Peeling, cracking, dry skin;
- Swollen tongue, lips and throat (it can cause anaphylaxis);
- Wheezing and coughing;
- Chest tightness and shortness of breath;
- Vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pains;
Unfortunately, in the past few years, more and more people developed allergies, and the frightening part is t
hat the majority of triggers causing allergy attacks can be found in the home.
Why Cleaning Your Home Is so Important
If we look at the common types of allergies, we can see that all of them can be caused by things found in any household. This means people must be extra careful especially at the place where generally they have to feel safe and secure. To protect their health people need to regularly clean and remove all possible allergens from their home. Here are some hot-spots for nasty allergens (we won’t look at food and drug allergies or those caused by autoimmune illnesses, as they are strictly individual.):
- The symptoms caused by these allergies vary from a simple body discomfort to serious life-threatening conditions. Stay on the lookout for the following:Dust allergies are extremely common, but rarely have more severe symptoms than a runny nose. Nevertheless, dust is everywhere in the home, and the only thing that will remove it is the weekly cleaning.
- Mould/Fungi allergies are one of the most common types. To eliminate the possibility of triggering them you need to keep all wet rooms in an immaculate state. This includes toilets, bathrooms, kitchens, window frames, vents. If your home has suffered a flood or a roof leakage call professional mould removals to check your home. Mould and mildew can live in your walls so you will need expert help on this one.
- Pollen/Plant allergies are usually seasonal. Which means you need to do a thorough deep cleaning of your home in early spring and mid-autumn to cleanse the premises. Microscopic pollen can stick to everything, and if you live in a plant-loving town like Bournemouth, it can be a nightmare to clean on your own.
- Insect/animal allergies can be caused by everything from a small spider to a big, fluffy golden retriever. Generally, if you have a pet allergy avoid having animals at the house. As for the insects, you need to make sure you regularly clean all dark corners of your house.
- Drug/Chemical allergies can be caused both by some medicines and by some cleaning detergents. To be on the safe side, always read the labels of all solvents you buy and try to stick to the natural ones. The more eco-friendly detergents are the less dangerous chemicals they contain.
- Latex allergies are common for all healthcare workers, as gloves are usually made from this material. However, there are some household items that also contain latex, so be sure to always read the labels.
How to Clean Your House to Prevent Triggering Your Allergies
This is a tricky task, as in trying to prevent your allergies you can accidentally inflame them. Nevertheless, you can’t leave the home uncleaned since these two hides serious dangers. So here are some cleaning advice that may save you the trip to the ER:
- Avoid stashing books and items in the home. Dust can easily accumulate, not to mention this creates a great living place for all sorts of insects.
- Do not use dusters. The best cleaning tool is your vacuum’s dust attachment.
- When buying a vacuum cleaner pick the one with the water container. Avoid dust bags, as they will certainly trigger your allergies;
- If you have a mould allergy, cleaning can be especially dangerous, consider calling professional help on this one.
- Always use protection in the form of rubber gloves and face mask. You can even buy a mask with a water filter just to be safe you won’t inhale something unwanted.
- Clean your upholstery and mattresses at least once a month.
- If you have pollen allergies, avoid drying out your carpets, bedding and curtains.
In conclusion, we would like to advise all who suffer from a severe allergic reaction to always have an epinephrine injector close by. Epinephrine is a strong drug that will immediately stop the violent allergic reactions. It is not a cure, but it can save your life if things go south very fast.
Check out part one and learn about the dangers of Asthma and how to control its triggers as best as possible: Illnesses We Can Avoid or Control by Cleaning Properly Our Homes, Part 1: Asthma