Spring-Cleaning For A Healthier EnvironmentFriday, August 02, 2013 Mary Anne Velasco
The annual ‘Spring-Clean’ could be used as an opportunity to spruce up your living environment and kick start a healthier lifestyle. For many, the allergy season is just beginning with pollen from a multitude of blooming plants starting to aggravate people with allergies across the UK. By conducting a thorough ‘Spring-Clean’, you can ensure that those allergens within your home environment are reduced to a minimum.
Dusting is one of the first activities in most Spring- Cleaning schedules and it can have a dramatic effect on reducing allergens. However, if you use a duster that simply lifts the dust off surfaces and into the air, you will actually increase airborne dust particles. Instead, use damp cloths or special dry dusters designed to trap and lock dust from hard and soft surfaces.
When using a vacuum cleaner, select one that has a HEPA filter, with tight seams and seals to prevent particles from leaking out while you vacuum. This will reduce the amount of dust being put back into the atmosphere. Also, choose a style that requires minimal exposure during canister emptying or bag changes.
One of the major causes of allergic reactions to dogs and cats is not the hair or fur, but the dander [old skin scales] which are constantly shed into the environment. Your cleaning routine should include frequently washing bedroom linen, try to wash your bedding at least once a week in 60°C+ water to kill mites and their eggs. Using mite-proof bedding on your mattresses and pillows will also help contain the allergens.
Mould is a common allergy trigger, it can grow anywhere in your home where moisture is present. Thorough cleaning of the kitchen, bathroom and utility room with subsequent ventilation of these areas will help prevent mould growth. Be sure to check walls behind kitchen units and cupboards, the lack of ventilation often means that excess mould grows in these areas. Look for cleaning products that help kill and prevent mould from returning.
Dust and pollen
Particular attention should be paid to window areas as these are subject to high air flow and so accumulate dust and pollen. Curtains should be taken down and, where possible, washed at a high temperature. If practical, curtains should be replaced with blinds that can easily be wiped down on a regular basis.
Soft furnishings and stuffed toys provide ideal environments for dust mites and pet dander to accumulate. Those items that are washable should be cleaned in hot water and dried completely before using again. Other items, such as stuffed toys, which can’t be washed, could be placed in the freezer for 24 hours, then rinsed in cold water to remove dead dust mites and dried completely before use.
Many cleaning products contain strong chemicals, and odours or volatile organic compounds [VOCs]. These can have a negative effect on allergy sufferers, so be careful to choose products that contain no irritants, such as natural wax as opposed to spray polish.
By following a few basic cleaning principles, it is possible to drastically reduce the allergens that can trigger the symptoms of hay fever, as well as other conditions such as eczema, sinusitis and asthma.
This article is brought to you on behalf of CS Healthcare a specialist provider of health insurance plans to those that work, or have worked, in the civil service, public service and not-for-profit sector, including their families.
This article is intended as general information only. If you or a family member have any medical concerns, please contact your GP or medic.
CS Healthcare is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority – reg no. 205346. The maximum joining age is 74 years and 11 months unless you are switching from a previous insurer in which case the maximum joining age is 69 years and 11 months.
… written by Mike Damon - a freelance writer who covers a range health related topics, from insurance to improving well-being through diet and exercise.