Allergies are on the rise all over the world. In the UK, for example, more than 20,000 people are admitted to hospital every year due to allergic reactions. More than 150 million people in Europe suffer from allergies and The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) claims that by 2025 asthma will “represent the most prevalent chronic childhood disease and result in one of the highest causes of healthcare costs.”
A recent study by the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) showed that exposure to outdoor air pollution during a child’s first year could increase the risk of developing allergies to sources such as food, mold, pets and pests.
Michael Brauer, the study’s senior author and a professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, said: “With the increasing rates of allergies amongst children in Canada and elsewhere, we were interested in determining if air pollution from traffic might be partially responsible.”
There might not be much that individuals can do about the air quality outside, but most of us can take steps to reduce the amount of allergens in our homes. Family members or visitors who are prone to allergies could find themselves reacting to substances found in dust, dirt and pet hair and this could lead to a number of symptoms, including:
- Asthma – coughing, wheezing and breathlessness
- Rhinitis – sneezing and an itchy, blocked or runny nose
- Conjunctivitis – irritable, red or streaming eyes
Allergies can impact the sufferer’s quality of life at any age, but children can be particularly prone to allergies. Common symptoms other than those listed above can include skin rashes or hives and upset stomachs. People suffering from other medical or health conditions could also find that allergic reactions can exacerbate other problems.
Common allergy triggers inside the home include pet hairs, dust mites and mold. Even if your home looks clean, it can be difficult to get rid of all the dust and potential allergens. Experts like Carpet Cleaning Ottawa can help to remove allergens from carpets, rugs and soft furnishings that can act as repositories for dust and other potentially harmful particulates. Regular vacuuming and dusting is essential, but having your home professionally cleaned every three or four months can drastically reduce the amount of allergens in your home.
Other measures you can take include using anti-allergy mattress covers, pillows and duvets. It’s an unpleasant thought, but the average bed can house over 10,000 dust mites, all of which produce droppings that can trigger allergies. Keep wardrobes and drawers closed when not in use to avoid dust settling and get rid of clutter on your surfaces for the same reason. You should also try to avoid condensation in kitchens and bathrooms as this can lead to damp, which in turn can lead to allergen-producing mold.
Allergies can cause serious problems for sufferers, but there are ways you can reduce the effects of allergens for family members and visitors to your home.