Asthma and airborne allergens

April 11, 2013

This week’s blog is on practical things that can be done to minimize airborne allergens.

A huge trigger for asthmatic sufferers is dust and dust mites. If your home has carpet, the best thing to do is to remove it, as carpet and floor rugs become a breeding ground for dust and dust mites. For many this will not be possible so it is imperative that carpets and rugs are vacuumed two to three times per week using a vacuum cleaner with a good filter system such as HEPA or triple internal. Steam cleaning carpets regularly will help to remove surface allergens temporarily but make sure that the carpet is dried properly otherwise mould can develop. The best flooring option for homes with asthmatic people living in it would be tiles, wooden or laminate flooring.

The next place to make sure that is cleaned and dusted regularly is the bedroom, specifically the mattress. This is because most people will spend up to one third of their lives sleeping on their mattress. Dust mites thrive in warm humid conditions and feed on dander, which is dead skin from humans and pets. Make certain that family pets do not sleep in the bedroom to minimize the proliferation of dust mites and ensure they are groomed and bathed regularly.

Make sure that bed linen, doona’s and pillow cases are changed on a regular basis and that they are washed in hot water and dried in the sun to kill off the dust mites. Purchasing a dust mite cover for the mattress, pillows and doona will help to minimize dust mite exposure, which for some people can reduce the frequency of asthmatic episodes.

Other common places where dust and dust mites accumulate include drapes and curtains, children’s soft fluffy toys (such as teddy bears), couches and recliners. Do not forget to clean and dust underneath and behind all furniture as well as knick knacks on display in the home. However, for those people who know that dust, dust mite and mould are a big trigger for their asthma, it may be beneficial to have someone else clean the home in order to prevent an acute attack.

The use of commercial cleaning products typically contain harsh chemicals and fumes which are not only toxic to the environment but may also trigger a persons asthma. Most health food stores generally stock a great range of natural cleaning products that work just as well, but is much safer for the family and the environment. Switching to a natural range of personal care body products may also benefit as it will assist in minimizing the body’s overall exposure to chemicals.

Nowadays it is very common for people to spend up to 90% of their time indoors in places such as the office, shopping centers, classroom, hospitals and the home. For anyone suffering from respiratory problems, it is important that the air that is being breathed into the body is of good quality. Investing in an air purifier or air filtration system may help those with asthma to better manage their symptoms.

Air purifiers function by removing small airborne particles that are suspended in the air surrounding the unit itself. This is why it is beneficial to regularly place the device in different parts of the room so that more air can be purified. Keep in mind that these units can only purify the air in rooms that it is located in. Larger homes may need more than one air purifier. For best effect, place them in rooms that are more commonly occupied such as the lounge area, kitchen and bedrooms.

When cooking, electric cooktops and ovens are preferable over gas stoves. Burning gas creates air borne pollutants, which may negatively affect a person’s asthma and trigger an episode. Ensuring that the rangehood is powerful and working efficiently will help minimize exposure to air borne pollutants that are created when using gas.

No matter how hard you try, it is impossible to completely eliminate all airborne allergens. What can be improved however, is the body’s resistance to these allergens. This is achieved by supporting the body’s immune system so that it is less reactive when exposure does occur.

Some beneficial nutrients include:

Quercetin – an antioxidant that inhibits the release of histamine, which is a compound responsible for allergic and inflammatory responses in the body.
Vitamin C – this major antioxidant is present in the surface lining of the airways where it protects the body against pathogens. It helps to boost the immune system and has anti histamine properties.
Carotenoids – powerful antioxidant which supports the immune system and improves the integrity of the mucous membranes in the respiratory system
Magnesium – great mineral for alleviating stress. Aids in relaxing the muscles in the respiratory system that have become tight and constricted.
At Saltuary, we stock high quality practitioner only products which contain these nutrients in the form of powders and tablets. If there are any questions, please come into Saltuary to speak with me or one of our lovely staff. I hope this information has been useful.

Wishing you vibrant health and happiness,


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