How to Alleviate Symptoms of ‘Home Fever’
How many dust mites are lurking in your home? Discover some astonishing facts about the cleanliness of your home and how it can affect your health.
12 million Brits may be allergic to their own homes according to a new study conducted by Allergy UK. The findings have been published in a report aimed at raising awareness about the quantity of dust mites and other allergens in the family home. These can cause problems such as itchy eyes, running noses, sneezing, wheezing and other out-of-season hayfever symptoms that are not triggered by high levels of pollen during the autumn and winter months. But, armed with the right cleaning information, homeowners can eradicate a substantial number of allergens from their home and improve their health substantially.
The statistics highlighting the sheer quantity of dust mites in the average house are quite disturbing. The typical bed harbours approximately 2 million dust mites, while a pillow is likely to double in weight during its first 6 months of usage; this is due to the weight of dust mite faeces which it holds. With these facts, it’s easy to see why 58.9% of indoor allergy sufferers found that their symptoms were more pronounced in the bedroom. This is an area of the house where 13% of people kept their mattress for more than 11 years and 16% claimed to wash their bed linen every three weeks or less. Furthermore, 58% wash their sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers at a temperature of 30 to 40C which is not enough to kill the mites which are present.
Deep Cleaning Your Soft Furnishings
Begin by looking at your soft furnishings which are the perfect habitat for dust mites and their excretions. Bare floors are the best option in bedrooms, but if you do have carpets then ensure that they are vacuumed along with soft, upholstered furniture such as sofas, at least twice a week. Curtain cleaning is essential and actually quite inexpensive – light cotton fabrics are easy to wash, but those made from thicker fabrics can be pre-treated before a thorough clean and hand-finish. If possible, try and avoid dramatic curtains that pool on the floor. Dust mites thrive in warm, damp conditions, so it is best to increase ventilation by opening windows or even installing a dehumidifier to reduce the population.
Treating Your Rugs
Rugs also attract large numbers of mites, as the dust can get trapped in-between the fibres of the material and be extremely difficult to get rid of. Choosing a washable fabric for your rugs would be advantageous, but if that’s not possible then regularly shake and beat the rug outside to remove the repositories of dust. A regular vacuum will also help to remove the mites, but remember also to empty the hoover barrel or change its bag regularly to remove the allergens from your house.
Other Preventative Measures
Those with young children should take care to regularly wash any soft toys that are a magnet for dust, dirt and mites. Try washing them at 60C, but if that’s not possible, place in a bag first and freeze the toy before washing at the normal temperature.
Similarly, all bedding should be washed at 60C and an allergen-proof barrier on the mattress will improve the situation for these ‘home fever’ sufferers.
With regular treatment of your home furnishings, much can be done to relieve at least some of the problems associated with household allergens. Grab the hoover and see what you can do to improve your health.