Our home is our castle. It is supposed to be a safe place where we can escape the pressures of everyday life and recuperate when we don’t feel well. Unfortunately, our home is often the root cause of health problems, and we don’t always realize.
Experts say respiratory allergies affect around 50 million people in the US, but this number is rising every year. A hundred years ago, allergies were a lot less common, but exposure to pollution, chemicals and spending more time indoors has led to a massive increase in the number of cases of asthma and other chronic conditions. Many experts believe that modern life is poisoning us and nowhere is this more evident than in our home.
Our ancestors spent the majority of their time outdoors, working in the fresh air. Their homes were unheated and lacked much in the way of soft furnishings. Modern homes are centrally heated, floors are covered in carpets and rugs, and we spend a lot of time indoors. Because of this, allergy triggers are all around us.
Dust mites are the most common cause of asthma symptoms. Dust mites love modern homes because they are warm and humid. They love to sleep in your bed and they will happily live on soft furnishings, cuddly toys, and anywhere else where it is warm and dry.
Unlike bed bugs and fleas, dust mites don’t bite, but they do trigger allergic responses in our respiratory system. The only way to limit the effect of dust mites is to wash linens on a hot wash once a week, place soft toys and pillows in the freezer for a few hours every week, and use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. It is also a good idea to have your upholstery and carpets professionally cleaned by a company such as City Wide Chem-Dry.
We all love our furry friends, but pet dander is a common cause of respiratory allergies. Some breeds are less allergenic than others are so if cats set your asthma off, consider buying a Sphynx cat, a breed known for its lack of fur.
Pet allergies are difficult to deal with. After all, you probably don’t want to find a new home for your beloved cat or dog just because they make you sneeze every five minutes. However, if you or your child has a serious allergy, you may not have a choice, as it is very difficult to remove all traces of pet dander from the home.
Mold grows in a damp environment. Black mold is a major health concern, as it can cause all kinds of serious allergenic responses and make you very ill. Living in a damp home with visible mold will make your asthma worse and trigger respiratory problems.
For this reason, deal with water leaks and floods as quickly as possible, and if you suffer from asthma, do not live in a basement apartment because they tend to be damp.
Other problems to watch out for include cockroaches, certain plants, and pollen.