Achoo! Ways to beat mite-y allergies
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Often sneezing till your eyes puff up and your nose runs? You probably are aware you’re allergic to dust but did you know that dust comprises remains of dust mites and cockroaches, skin flakes, mold, pollen and pet dander? Even in supposedly clean homes, allergens from dust mites and dander can get up your nose as they can’t be cleared by normal sweeping and vacuuming. To get allergies to bite the dust, here’s what you need to do.
In Singapore, almost half the adult population suffers from some allergy or other. A report from the National University of Singapore (NUS) notes that close to 40% have been diagnosed with allergic rhinitis while some 15% are asthmatic.
Allergens are the main cause of respiratory problems in Singapore. This finding by Research Associate Professor Wang De Yun from the Department of Otolaryngology at NUS and Associate Professor Olaf Rötzschke of the Singapore Immunology Network was published in the journal Allergy.
At home, dust mites thrive in our soft furnishings, partying in our mattresses, and squatting in fabric-covered sofas, cushions, carpets, drapes and soft toys as they feed on shed human skin and other organic wastes. Too microscopic to notice, many people don’t realise their allergic reactions are caused by dust mite feces and corpses. A major solution to the problem is using a customised vacuum cleaner eg the Philips Mite Cleaner that we tested.
Unlike bed bugs, dust mites don’t bite but they are everywhere. To reduce their numbers, invest in a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (High-efficiency particulate arrestance) filter that can remove 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 µm, and traps dust/allergens inside.
It’s not fur that causes allergies but the proteins in urine, saliva, and pet dander. Keeping the pet out of your bedroom helps, but if you can’t bear to be separated from your pet, clean once or twice a day with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner. Also, steam-clean your mattress once a month and protect pillows and mattresses with allergy covers. Bathing your pet at least once a week will also help reduce shedding and dander. Remember to wash your hands after playing with your pet.
2. Bed linen, Mattresses, Carpets and Plush Toys
People with allergies should reduce the number of dust-attracting furnishings like carpets, heavy curtains, throws, cushions, fabric-covered sofas and plush toys. These provide dust mites with more hideaways to party and breed. For your bed, here’s how to reduce the dust mite population.