I’ve always been a sniffy person – by that I mean that I’m constantly rubbing my nose, crinkling it up, making weird scraping noises (that drive the Luv Luv batty) with my throat, clearing my throat, sneezing or sniffling. That’s cause, when I described myself as an allergy queen, I did not mean just my food allergies. I have reacted to every single environmental allergy that I’ve been tested for! Seriously! I’ve sat at the allergist’s office with my hands full of pen marks and little dots of liquids only to see my entire arm swell up and itch and go red…for days. (Yes, I hate allergy testing, but I guess it is a necessary evil). Now, although I had my first anaphylactic reaction to allergens when I was 11, it was not until I was around 18 years old that I actually got my first allergy test, and found out that my first proven allergen was one of the most common ones around – dust mites!
I had no clue what they were when I first heard of them, and I have to tell you that when I was told what they are, it completely grossed me out. I mean, who wouldn’t be when you think of so many of these microscopic bugs crawling all around you in your clean home, eating dead skin cells and pooping in your bed so that you can breathe the dry poop in and have an allergic reaction? Really? What type of joke was t hat God?! It’s not funny, I gotta tell you!!!!
*shakes finger (no not THAT finger) at the heavens and mutters under her breath about bad sense of humour and God while thinking “I am NOT amused Old Man!”*
Dust Mites, Your Home And Your Family
Anyway, it’s no surprise that dust mites are one of the most common allergens around! I mean dust is everywhere, and where there is dust and where there are dead skin cells from humans, there are dust mites. So it’s up to us to minimize the amount of dust mites around us if we want to live a relatively dust mite free life, right?!
If you have allergies like me, you’ll know the typical things to be done – keep the house clean, dust frequently, vacuum if you have carpet and can’t get rid of it (and get rid of carpet if you can!), wash your bed linens in HOT water (sorry no environment saving there for you), use the proper allergy-free mattress and pillow covers and vacuum your matresses frequently. In fact, I’ve heard of a little trick recently with baking soda and essential oils that will help run those dust mites out of town! Well…out of your mattress at least…no I haven’t tested it – YET!
One thing people don’t usually realize, is that dust mites thrive in humid, hot conditions. Therefore, when you turn the temperature just that little bit more up in the winter to cut the chill because you’re too lazy to put on a sweater or a pair of socks, the dust mites are thanking God that you’ve done it – because you’ve created a little nirvana in that home/room/space! So no matter how much you vacuum or cover or dust, you’re creating the perfect temperature and climate for dust mites to thrive and mulitply. Of the 12 million people in the UK who are actually allergic to their own homes (due to dustmites, mould, lead, etc. etc.), most don’t realise that something as simple as controlling the temperature of your home can go a long way towards helping reduce the onset and effects of these issues.
The answer? Upgrade your heating - you don’t have to suffer through winter in the cold, nor do you have to sneeze your way through it in relatively warm comfort. The best thing to do is upgrade your heating and divide your house into zones. That way you can save energy (and that dreaded electric/gas bill), diminish the amount of allergens in your home AND stay warm by using the heat ONLY where and when you want it – add single room thermostats. Add timers to your heaters and program them appropriately – and keep an ambient temperature in your home around 19 degrees C – sounds cold? It’s not really when you think that only two degrees more, at 21 degrees C (and of course, above), you’ve reached the minimum average temperature of Tenerife in summertime (Tenerife Guide – Weather)!
Anyway, I’m sure you all know a lot about allergies and allergens and all that – else you wouldn’t be on this blog, right? When you’re an allergy queen (or king) like me, then you sometimes feel you know everything there is to know about allergies – but how wrong you can be – and this infographic, prepared by Honeywell UK completely surprised me even though I consider myself well versed in all things allergy. Take a look – it’s quite interesting and I think you may even be like me and learn a few things!