Allergens around us
How pleasant it is to return home, most people would agree. Probably, except for those who suffer from reactions to household allergens. It is at home that they have to suffer with sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and skin irritations. These very unpleasant symptoms often stem from the surrounding everyday household items. The source of allergens can be wall carpet dust, your favorite book, or your cat. They can get to us in various ways – through the mouth, respiratory tract, skin.
Household allergens are a whole allergenic complex consisting of many components. It consists of various fibers and particles: the epidermis (peeled particles of the surface layers of the skin) of a person, spores of microscopic mold and yeast fungi, allergens of cockroaches and house dust mites (particles of chitinous shell and waste products), book dust.
House dust mite is one of the most common allergens. He lives in every house all year round, but from time to time his number increases dramatically. It was found that a decrease in contact with an allergen improves the course of these diseases, therefore, ticks began to be studied and measures aimed at reducing their number were developed.
A few facts about dust mites:
House dust mites are not a product of civilization. They have lived next to people for centuries.
The size of an adult tick is 0.3-0.4 mm, not distinguishable with the naked eye. But the number of mites in house dust can be huge, and the frequency of their detection when examining the premises of various cities reaches 95-100%.
The main place of concentration of house dust mites is the bed, but there are many of them in carpets, upholstered furniture, curtains, soft toys, clothes, etc.
The dust mite does not bite people and does not carry any infections.
The dust mite is transparent and cannot stand direct sunlight.
The dust mite does not tolerate prolonged freezing.
House dust mite allergies are very common.
Allergens are the waste products of the tick and fragments of the chitinous shell of dead ticks.
The manifestations of this type of allergy are manifold and include allergic rhinitis (usually perennial), conjunctivitis, atopic dermatitis / eczema, and bronchial asthma.
Not all people with household allergies are allergic to house dust mites.
Allergy to animals.
Animal allergens are a common culprit in allergic diseases. Allergenic activity is possessed by wool, feathers, dandruff, saliva, urine and animal excrement. You can meet them almost everywhere. These are, first of all, apartments and houses of people who keep or kept animals. They are able to be carried with human clothing, so they are found even where animals have never been – in public places such as schools and offices. Animal allergens are very volatile. They are usually attached to fine dust particles that remain in the air for a long time. Woolen and fur clothing can cause various reactions. Feathers of birds and down (chickens, geese, ducks) are contained in pillows, and the wool of various animals is in blankets. This is partly why people with allergies are advised to use synthetic bedding. Aquarium fish and reptiles are practically not capable of causing allergies, but their food (dry daphnia, dry bloodworms, rodents) can cause allergic reactions.
Quite often, for various reasons, an allergy sufferer does not know which component of house dust causes the manifestations of the disease in him. But the general rule remains valid: reducing contact with the allergen https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allergen improves the course of allergic diseases. There are general recommendations for organizing a hypoallergenic life and, as a consequence, relieving the unpleasant symptoms of household allergies.
Reduce the number of places where dust accumulates (remove dust collectors).
– Remove fur skins, carpets, canopies
– Replace the curtains with vertical blinds or curtains made of an easily washable fabric (in this case, they should be washed once a week in hot water).
– Replace furniture with fabric upholstery with leather, plastic or wood. Things of simple design are desirable: various decorative details serve as places of accumulation of dust.
– Knick-knacks should be stored in closed cupboards, books on glazed shelves.
– Children should not take soft toys to bed.
– Keep pets out of the bedroom and into bed, even if they are not allergic.
Bedding and covers.
– Replace down and feather pillows and mattresses, woolen and wadded blankets with synthetic ones: with high airiness and maintaining the moisture regime (polyester, lyocell, thinsulate, synthetic winterizer is not suitable).
– If you can’t replace everything at once, start with the pillow.
– For hypoallergenic bedding to remain hypoallergenic, it must either be washed frequently, washed with additives to eliminate allergens, or placed in anti-allergenic protective covers.
– Bedding should be washed either once a week at a temperature of 60C and above, or with special additives to eliminate allergens (acaricides) once a month. Bed linen (pillowcase, duvet cover, sheet) should be washed 2 times a week at a temperature of 60C and above.
– The use of anti-allergenic protective covers with a zipper can reduce the frequency of washing pillows and blankets up to 2 times a year and increase the level of protection against allergens. The cover should cover the bedding on all sides and be fastened with a small zipper with a wide protective strip.
– Wet cleaning should be done daily
– Cleaning with a vacuum cleaner is recommended to be done daily, in extreme cases – at least 2 times a week. But when using conventional vacuum cleaners, the smallest dust particles and allergens get into the air. They do not settle for hours, they penetrate deeply into the respiratory tract. To avoid this, you should use vacuum cleaners specially designed for allergy sufferers with HEPA filters (filter for highly efficient air purification from particles). A HEPA filter for allergy sufferers must retain at least 99% of particles from 0.3 microns in size.
– The use of washing vacuum cleaners is possible only with special anti-allergenic additives.
– In severe cases, it is recommended to use a respirator while cleaning.
Air purification and humidity control
– Air purifiers can be used to reduce dustiness in the air and the amount of aeroallergens.
– An air conditioner or ionizer cannot replace filter cleaners.
– It should be possible to use the purifier continuously (it should not generate harmful substances).
– In dry air, dust does not settle for hours. The optimum humidity level is 40-60%. Therefore, wet cleaning and controlled humidification are necessary, especially during the heating season.