Keeping allergies at bay – How to keep your home a healthy place

Many of us suffer from allergies, indeed 3 in 10 adults suffer from Hay Fever, for example. There are also warnings that with the rise in the use of anti-biotics, more and more of us will develop allergies and intolerances and, worryingly, an immunity to the effects of the very drugs that were designed to help us.

Whether or not you or a family member currently suffer from an allergy or intolerance, there are things that you can do at home to defend against allergies striking.

Do I need to disinfect everything?

The simple answer is no. We don’t suggest living in a home that is stripped bare and cleaned to the standards of a scientific laboratory. There is evidence which appears to suggest that as our homes have become cleaner with the advances of bacteria killing agents, we don’t contract those childhood illnesses which boost our immune system for the rest of our lives. Cleaning is an important part of our daily routine, particularly when you live with children and/or animals, but it isn’t the be-all and end-all of allergy prevention or management.

What allergies are we talking about?

Let’s be honest, if you’re allergic to penicillin, there’s little we can do here to help you, although we would suggest you find a way to make others aware of that information, should you ever find yourself unable to communicate it.

What we can help with, however, are the common allergies such as house dust mites and hay fever. On top of that, there are of course the food-based allergies and intolerances such as Lactose Intolerance or Coeliac Disease.

Dust Mites? Do I have an infestation?

Don’t panic, it’s not as scary as it sounds. House Dust Mites are tiny organisms, not able to be seen by the naked eye, which feed on the dead skin cells we shed every day. They live in the carpets, fabrics and soft furnishings of our homes and happily create up to 200 times their own body weight in waste, which is what creates the allergic reaction we experience.

Okay, so how do I manage them in my home?

There are a few simple steps that you can take to control both the house dust mites that you share your home with as well as pollen and other allergens. First, though, let’s debunk the myth that hoovering alone will solve the problem. It won’t.

The trick with dust mites is to create an environment in which they cannot thrive. Washing your bedding and other fabrics at 60 degrees will kill off any live mites and add a protective layer. The mites like a warm and humid environment to really thrive, so turning down the heating and using a dehumidifier, particularly in the bedroom, will also help. You might also consider changing your carpet for hard flooring, taking away a large part of the mite’s home.

When it comes to pollen, there are more simple tricks – pollen travels on the wind, so keeping your windows and doors closed on a particularly breezy day will help keep the pollen out. It’s also worth not hanging your clothes outside to dry during the pollen season, so that you don’t bring pollen into your home on your clean clothes. Add to that wiping down soft furnishings and your pets with a damp cloth, and you will be making headway to a more pollen-free home.

For more information on controlling allergens in your home and management options should you suffer from allergens, you can visit


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