INSTEAD OF MAKING US FEEL HAPPY AND HEALTHY, HOMES CAN BE A SOURCE OF TRIGGERS FOR ALLERGIES. HERE’S SOME TIPS TO ALLEVIATE WHEEZING AND SNEEZING
“There’s no place like home” – the cliché rings true.
It’s the place where we unwind and recover from life’s ailments and episodes. Home makes us feel better.
But did you know that your home also can make you sick?
So, if you’re embarking on building a new house and are prone to sneezing, wheezing and itching, you may want to consider ways to allergy-proof your home.
Paint, flooring and furnishings in buildings are a major contributor to allergies, as they can emit gases known as volatile organic compounds (VOCS) – referred to as indoor environmental pollutants.
Research shows VOCS trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals and can cause headaches, dizziness and nausea.
Sensitive Choice is a community service program created by the National Asthma Council Australia in 2006 to help everyone breathe purer, cleaner, fresher air and reduce asthma and allergic reactions.
It recommends low or no VOC products and its website makes shopping for an allergy-free environment easier with tips and recommendations for building and renovating homes to be allergy-free.
The organisation recommends and endorses manufacturers of roofing, paint, plasterboard, insulation, cabinets, benchtops, frames, windows, doors and carpets.
Recently approved is a plasterboard by CSR Gyprock that is mould- and moisture-resistant.
CSR Gyprock spokeswoman Alisha Mykytowycz said the plasterboard had an anti-fungal agent through its core that penetrated the paper and decorative coating.
“It also contains a unique wax emulsion which makes it resistant to moisture and perfect for wet areas like the bathroom and laundry,” she said.
The World Health Organisation acknowledges mould as a trigger for allergies and other health problems.
Mould spores are carried in the air, and studies show that when inhaled, they can cause allergic reactions such as a blocked nose, plus eye and skin irritations.
Exposure to mould also can cause eczema. Our warm and humid coastal weather presents ideal conditions for mould growth and is an important consideration when allergy-proofing your new home.
Sensitive Choice spokeswoman Adele Taylor said mould could destroy your home and your health.
“Ensure your home is well-sealed, otherwise external moisture will get into your house,” she said.
“Good ventilation is important for prevention of mould growth.
“Install good-quality extractor fans in wet areas and dehumidifiers are helpful for extracting moisture in the home.”
Perhaps surprisingly when it comes to flooring, Adele said carpet could be a better choice for allergy-sensitive individuals.
“Sensitive Choice has an approved short-pile carpet,” she said.
“The fibres don’t shed into the air.
“Hard floors don’t provide a place for allergens to be trapped safely and removed with vacuuming.”
Most synthetic carpets and vinyl emit VOCS.
These gases are higher during installation, but gradually become less over time.
If you prefer not to have carpet, low and ultra low-voc vinyl flooring is available in Australia and Voc-free options such as terrazzo flooring or tiles are an option.
“OUR WARM AND HUMID COASTAL WEATHER PRESENTS IDEAL CONDITIONS FOR MOULD GROWTH AND IS AN IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION WHEN ALLERGY-PROOFING YOUR NEW HOME.”
AIDING AND ABETTING ALLERGIES: Paint, flooring and furnishings in homes are a major contributor to allergies.