According to Nicole Bijlsma, Building Biologist, Healthy Home Expert and ambassador to Chemical Free Community, 1 in 3 children will experience allergies by the age of 5. This dramatic increase in the prevalence of allergic diseases like asthma, eczema, hayfever and food allergies in western countries can be linked to allergens in the home such as mould, house dust, pets, pollens, pests, carpets, soft furnishing, mattresses, bedding, stuffed toys and chemicals.
We spend approx. 90% percentage our time inside, so it is important to know how to manage these triggers such as pet dander, dust mites and even cockroaches in your home, office, school and car to reduce the occurrence of allergies and asthma.
Reduce the chemicals in your home: There is a plethora of evidence that indicates the every day products we use around the home emit toxic chemicals into our indoor air, potentially impacting our heath. The good news is that there are now so many non/low toxic cleaners, air fresheners, candles, deodorants, inspect repellants, perfumes, shampoos etc available and easily accessible to everyone. Check out www.chemfreecom.com for online retailers and stores near you.
Manage your house dust – House dust mites are the most common allergen source in humid areas such as coastal cities and towns.
Best to start with the area you spend most of your time, the bedroom. It is advised to wash sheets, pillow cases and other bedding weekly in hot water (>60̊C) and expose them to full sun on a regular basis. This will kill dust mites and wash away the allergen they produce. Vacuum the mattress pillows, doonas and quilt monthly; remove soft toys or wash weekly with eucalyptus oil; vacuum carpets weekly, ensuring vacuum has a HEPA filter.
Manage moisture in the home.
Dampness and mould produce unhealthy allergens and has been linked with health problems such as asthma, allergies and other respiratory illnesses. It can look like spots, comes in various colors and may appear fuzzy and smell musty. The tiny spores they release into the air can trigger the allergic reactions and asthma attacks when touched or inhaled. It can take hold and grow almost anywhere — on ceiling tiles and wallpaper, in paint, insulation, drywall, carpet, upholstery and a litany of other places, and may not always be visible.
Nicole Bijlsma confirms “24% of the population cannot create antibodies to mould; so every time they go into a water-damaged building, it results in inflammation in their brain and their body which can be misdiagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or even worse, a mental illness”
Moisture, in general, can be a very conducive environment for cockroaches and other pests. Some of the main culprits that hang around in humid environments are silverfish, millipedes, centipedes, ants and cockroaches. Extremely humid locations attract mosquitoes and fleas. The proteins in cockroach saliva, feces and shedding body parts can trigger both asthma and allergies. These allergens, which are similar to dust mites, can aggravate symptoms when they become airborne.
The best way to remove mould is to physically remove it. Nicole recommends a “HEPA sandwich which involves vacuuming the affected non-porous surface using a vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA filter, then wiping with a damp microfibre cloth, and vacuuming again”. You can get further details in Nicole book, Healthy Home Healthy Family.
Simply opening window and using exhaust fans will help to to ventilate your home. To manage or prevent moisture in your home, consider installing a dehumidifier to reduce the humid conditions. Dehumidifiers work to remove moisture from the air, creating a dryer environment which is more difficult for mould to grow and pests to survive in.
A dehumidifier lowers humidity by removing moisture from the air and does so by condensing the water onto a cold surface., similar to the principle of water collecting on the ourtside of a glass of cold water on a hot day. The D built in fans pull the humid air from the surrounding area into the D. The air passes over a set of cold coils, cooled by a refrigerant. The water collects on the cold coils and drips into the D internal water tank which is drained by a hose. The cold air is then passed over warm coils to return it to room temperature.
Will A Dehumidifier Help?
If you suffer from constant symptoms of allergies, or have obvious signs of high humidity, live in an apartment building using ventilation systems you may want to consider a dehumidifier:
- Water stains on the walls or ceilings of your home
- High humidity rooms with poor ventilation or no ventilation (especially in areas like bathrooms that have no windows)
- Frequent condensation on the windows in certain areas of your home
- Small black spots (mold spores) growing on the walls or in areas with high humidity, such as the bathtub or shower
- Must or mildew smells
Benefits of a Dehumidifier
There are several benefits to getting a dehumidifier in your home, basement, apartment, or office space.
- Dehumidifiers reduce humidity levels, making your home less hospitable to allergens such as dust mites, mold, and mildew
- They can alleviate pest activity in your home
- They are not disruptive to your daily life, and run quietly and efficiently in the background without most people even noticing.
- Dehumidifiers help reduce odors that can accompany mold and mildew in your home—getting rid of that “musty” or “rotting” smell.
- These devices help to reduce the possibility that you will develop mold on your clothing, furniture, and other linens (such as curtains or bed sheets).
- Dehumidifiers reduce irritation to your skin and your respiratory system, allowing you to breathe easier and feel comfortable in your home.
- A less humid environment in your home means clothing will dry faster, breads and cereals will remain fresh longer without getting stale, and you won’t find signs of rust or corrosion on things like computer equipment, electronics, and tools.
- Running a dehumidifier helps reduce dust in your home, so you won’t have to clean as often.
- A dehumidifier also lowers energy costs because it helps your air conditioner run more efficiently. When the air in your home is more humid, the A/C must do the function of cooling the air and removing moisture, which means it has to work harder. This also causes your A/C to wear out sooner, which means you will need to replace and repair it more often.
- The clothes dryer function may even be more economical than a traditional clothes dryer.
If you need advice regarding your indoor air quality, moisture/mould issues, or you are experiencing allergies/health issues which you have been unable to identify the cause of your complaint, consider
- consulting a building biologist or
- consulting IICRC accredited mould remediator to investigate
- click HERE for the seacrch results on www.chemfreecom.com for suppliers of dehumidifiers and air purifiers
- click HERE for the seacrch results on www.chemfreecom.com for mould
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