For people who suffer from allergies it can seem like an impossible task to shield yourself from everything that can trigger a reaction. There seems to be an endless list of culprits such as dust, mould, smoke, germs, viruses and pollen. Protecting yourself from allergens starts in earnest at home with the goal of creating a safe space where you can breathe easier and sleep better.
Indoor and outdoor allergens can often overlap such as pollution and pollen. Sources of allergens can be outside but are brought in the house and trapped there if they're not removed. Over time they may settle on surfaces, float in the air and spread as they get disturbed which can then be inhaled causing an allergic reaction.
Both can cause the same uncomfortable symptoms such as runny noses, sore eyes, sneezing, coughing and general breathing problems.
Outdoor air pollution is difficult if not impossible to control without stopping short of avoiding going outside altogether. Indoor air quality, however, can be controlled and managed to a much higher degree which can help to reduce the triggers and manage the symptoms.
But, effort needs to be made to turn the home into a safe haven free of dirty house dust, annoying pollen, miserable mould spores, creepy dust mite and other harmful particles. It won't happen on its own.
In this article, we offer some advice on how to create a home environment which is clean and safer for everyone and not just hay fever sufferers, people with asthma or other breathing issues. Everyone can benefit from cleaner air and surfaces.
Before we begin..
Dust and clean from top to bottom
Dust, pollen and pet dander are the most common indoor allergens and they can get everywhere - on upholstery, clothes, bedding, cabinets as well as floating in the air. Some particles are so small the naked eye can't see them which can mean homes which appear clean are still full of allergy triggering matter. Allergy UK claim that with 90% of our time being spent indoors there has never been a more crucial time to exercise good hygiene.
The first step to make the home free of allergens is to clean the house from top to bottom with a solid vacuum cleaner with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Don't just stop with the floor, make sure to clean upholstered furniture, blinds, curtains, walls, ceilings, lampshades/fans. To make this even easier we have recommended using a vacuum with a HEPA filter which traps particles as you clean and helps purify the air in your home.
For any house dust the vacuum cleaner can't get to, use a damp cloth rather than a duster as this could just move the dust around rather than pick it up.
The new Upright 300 is our lightest and most steerable Upright Hoover ever and comes with a H13 HEPA filter to help eliminate those common allergens which cause allergic reactions.
This step will ensure much of the existing allergens in the home are removed but it won't stop any new allergens from entering the home.
Wash textiles, upholstery and bedding
Dust mites are a common allergen which cause allergies and can often be found all over the home. Dust mites are microscopic and feed off dead skin, they're commonly found where people and pets spend a lot of time, such as on beds and sofas; the living room and bedroom are popular with these creatures. Dust mites don't tend to bite and shouldn't be confused with bed bugs, but they can cause an allergic reaction with contact (skin rash) and by being inhaled. They can be particularly annoying for those who suffer with asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
Before we can create an allergy unfriendly home, we should wash all bedding and upholstery as much as we can to kill any existing dust mites. Higher temperatures are best but always follow the recommended washing machine settings given on the label. Drying them indoors or in a tumble dryer is recommended as clothes drying outside can pick up pollen.
We'd also recommend steam cleaning the mattresses whilst washing the sheets as well as anything else which can't be machine washed or vacuumed.
Creating an allergy-free home
Purify the air
Unfortunately, it's the air we breathe which causes so many bouts of allergic rhinitis. Hay fever is one the most common results of particles being inhaled which enters the lungs and into the bloodstream. These symptoms are the body's natural response as it releases antibodies to tackle these foreign invaders and attempts to stop anymore being ingested.
Therefore, reducing particles such as pollen from the air we breathe can significantly improve the quality of life for people who are susceptible to hay fever.
A Hoover air purifier can pick up ultra-fine particles and trap matter as small as 0.3 microns in the H-TRIFILTER before releasing purified air back into your home. This doesn't just cover allergens such as pollen but bacteria, moulds and smoke particles, too. Our air purifiers have a whole suite of features to help such as a multi-sensor system to check the air quality in real time, WiFi connectivity so you can adjust settings via the hOn app and perhaps most importantly for hay fever sufferers - pollen inactivation!
This feature first traps the pollen before deactivating it. Very handy during spring and summer. The H-Purifier can clear a room of pollen in 10 mins* and is recommended by the British Allergy Foundation who said “The Air Purifier is efficient at reducing small particulates which may include allergens, bacteria and viruses.”
* Time for one time cleaning of a 20 sq m room assuming the 2.4 height based on max CADR
In conjunction with regular cleaning and keeping windows closed an air purifier could give you a safe haven 24 hours a day. The result is better breathing and a better night's sleep.
Limit how much pollen you let inside
Allergic symptoms will persist if you are always exposed to pollen both inside and outside. Taking some steps to reduce how much pollen you bring in will give the air purifier and vacuum cleaner less work to do, especially if you are going from room to room regularly. Keeping the windows shut, leaving your shoes outside and changing your clothes and having a shower/bath as soon as you come home are great ways to reduce the amount of pollen and other allergens entering your home.
An air purifier and vacuum cleaner can help pick up whatever does manage to sneak in.
Groom your pets
Hair, animal dander and even pollen which can be stuck in their fur can all cause allergy symptoms. We recommend brushing your pet's hair thoroughly outside (and make sure to change clothes after you're finished) and regularly giving them a bath and their regular flea treatment to boot. Animal allergens are common, but with regular grooming, vacuuming with a pet vacuum cleaner and air purification it can be kept at bay. Many dogs shed more than usual at the same time as high pollen season which can cause a pile up of allergies.
In addition, it's also recommended to try and keep pets to one particular area of the house or outside. It's especially helpful to keep pets away from beds and sofas as much as possible to prevent dander and hair from sticking to them. Placing an air purifier in the room where your pet is or has recently been can help improve the air quality overall.
By creating a habit of getting on top of allergens in the home it can significantly improve the quality of life of everyone in the home. It can create a safe space where breathing is easier and somewhere to escape during the days of high pollen counts and air pollution.
Having cleaner surfaces and purified air in the home can lead to better overall health, less bouts of symptoms and a better night's sleep. It's not just people who suffer from hay fever, asthma or other respiratory issues who stand to gain but everyone else who lives in or visits your home, too.