AL­LER­GIES bite the dust


New Zealand Woman’s Weekly - - HEALTH & FAMILY -

One in every three Ki­wis suf­fers from an al­lergy of some sort and they can make life mis­er­able.

Mould, mildew, dust mites and pet dan­der (skin cells) are among the lead­ing causes of al­ler­gies, but the good news is that there are steps you can take to make your home as hy­poal­ler­genic as pos­si­ble. Here’s how:

Dust hard sur­faces with a damp cloth in­stead of a dry one or a feather duster, which just spread the dust around.

For soft sur­faces such as so­fas, vac­uum us­ing the special fur­ni­ture at­tach­ment.

Keep pil­lows and mat­tresses clean. Beds eas­ily trap al­ler­gens, such as dust mites and can be hard to clean. Use hy­poal­ler­genic mat­tress and pil­low pro­tec­tors to keep dust mites at bay. Wash linen in very hot wa­ter and vac­uum your mat­tress and pil­lows us­ing at­tach­ments.

Use a vac­uum cleaner with a HEPA (high ef­fi­ciency par­tic­u­late) fil­ter. They can be ex­pen­sive, but will be worth it in the long run.

Think seriously about hav­ing pets. Their dan­der can make some al­ler­gies much worse. If you do have pets, try to keep them out of bed­rooms and off beds. Reg­u­larly wash their bed­ding.

Cur­tains are a haven for dust – you might want to re­place them with win­dow shades, which are are eas­ier to clean. Car­pets are also like a gi­ant dust reser­voir and need to be vac­u­umed reg­u­larly. You might want to con­sider putting in hard floor­ing such as wood, tiles or linoleum in­stead, which is bet­ter if you have al­ler­gies.

Get rid of or­na­ments and knick-knacks that col­lect dust.

Chil­dren’s soft toys at­tract dust. If you’ve got room, pop the toys in the freezer overnight to kill dust mites, then wash them on your ma­chine’s hottest set­ting to help get rid of the al­ler­gen residue.

Keep mould un­der con­trol – this is a ma­jor al­ler­gen. Re­move mould from any sur­face as soon as you no­tice it. Re­duce the chance of de­vel­op­ing mould in your home by us­ing ex­trac­tor fans in ar­eas like the kitchen and bath­rooms, which produce a lot of mois­ture. Make sure you have ad­e­quate ven­ti­la­tion – open win­dows for a while every day, even in win­ter. It can also be worth in­vest­ing in a de­hu­mid­i­fier.

Use shower doors in­stead of shower cur­tains in bath­rooms to re­duce the risk of mould.

Re­strict the num­ber of house plants you have – mould can grow in the soil.

Choose clean­ing prod­ucts care­fully. Prod­ucts with VOCs (volatile or­ganic com­pounds) and ar­ti­fi­cial fra­grances can cause ir­ri­ta­tion and trig­ger al­ler­gies. Use clean­ers made from nat­u­ral prod­ucts in­stead.

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