Allergies happen when your body comes into contact with a foreign substance. These allergens could come from animal or plant matter in your home that trigger your body’s response. Symptoms of allergies can include itchy and watering eyes, a blocked nose, sneezing, and coughing. To alleviate your allergy symptoms, you need to first eliminate allergens around you.
Dust Mites Are the Most Common Allergen in Australia
Dust mites tend to be more prevalent in homes along the coast, such as Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. Dust mites colonise wherever dust forms but tend to latch onto soft surfaces.
To minimise dust mites in your home, routine cleaning of soft surfaces is warranted. This can be achieved by cleaning bedding, blankets, curtains, and other easily detachable surfaces. To kill the allergens that dust mites produce, the fabric must be washed in water at least 60 degrees Celsius or higher.
If the offending fabric cannot be washed, use a fabric cleaner containing tea tree and eucalyptus oil. Both are repellents and killers of dust mites. Eliminate the number of soft surfaces by replacing soft children’s toys with plastic ones, switching from heavy fabric curtains to Venetian blinds, and removing carpet.
Minimise Mould in Your Home
High humidity in homes enables the growth of mould and mildew. Control the humidity in your house by ensuring proper ventilation and movement of air throughout the home. You can also use a dehumidifier in areas that are particularly muggy.
Small infestations of mould can be remedied with bleach and other mould-reducing cleaners. Large moulded areas should be handled by professionals as you may spread more mould spores around the home whilst you are trying to remove it.
Leaking roofs or windows should be patched immediately to prevent the moisture from growing mould.
Even your indoor potted plants can become a breeding ground for mould and mildew.
Avoiding Pollen When Able
No matter how much you clean the interior of your home, there is nothing you can do about the population of allergens outside your home. Pollen in particular is a source of allergies for many Australians.
The height of pollen accumulation usually occurs from October to December. To minimise your contact with this allergen, you should monitor the pollen counts from your local forecast. On days where the pollen count is high or a storm has just blown in, minimise your time outdoors. Do not partake in activities that would expose you to pollen, such as hiking, mowing the lawn, or trimming trees.
If you cannot stay indoors on high pollen days, use recirculated air in the car to reduce the amount of allergens that are blown in through your air conditioning system. Wear sunglasses and/or a bandanna around the lower half of your face to reduce contact between your mucous membranes and the offending allergen.
Be sure to shower upon returning home to avoid trekking pollen into your freshly cleaned house.
If you are following the previous advice of washing your bedding and linens in hot water to kill dust mites, allow these items to dry indoors or in a dryer. Hanging these soft surfaces out on your Hills Hoist on a high pollen day will result in collection of allergens on the linens.