Our homes are our sanctuaries. However for those with a skin allergy, they are also harbouring invisible allergens which are making skin conditions worse.
We think of our homes as our safe place, somewhere to escape to and unwind after a busy day. Unfortunately if you suffer from a skin condition such as eczema or dermatitis, the place we come for comfort could be making symptoms worse.
Not only do we spend a lot of time at home, but our houses create the perfect conditions for allergens to thrive. A warm environment with lots of soft furnishings or fabric to breed in.
Here we share our advice on how to reclaim your home and keep hidden allergens at bay.
1. Exterminate Dust Mites
House dust mites are tiny creatures, just a quarter of a millimetre long, and like it or not there are millions of them living in your home. They are found in carpets, sofas, rugs, curtains, cushions, beds and duvets and feed on the dead skin that we shed.
The best way to keep house dust mites at bay is by keeping your house clean. Soft toys can also be attractive to dust mites, so keep them out of your children’s beds if they have any allergies. You can also wash them at a high temperature every six months, or even put them in a freezer overnight to kill any mites.
2. Open Your Windows
Common allergens in the home thrive in warm, damp conditions so make sure that your give your house a chance to breath by opening your windows to let fresh air circulate. Overheating at night can also aggravate dry, irritated skin making it itchy.
Eczema sufferers know all too well the damage that they can do at night by scratching in their sleep. Try to avoid over heating by sleeping with the window open slightly. You could also consider investing in an air purifier which will remove pollutants and allergens from the air indoors.
3. Look At The Labels
There are a wide range of products that we use every day in our homes that our skin comes into contact with, that could unknowingly be making skin problems worse. Things such as: washing detergent, shampoo, deodorant, make up and moisturisers could cause flare ups and exacerbate problem skin. Look out for products which have been endorsed by organisations such as Allergy UK. This means that its ingredients have been scientifically tested with leading allergy specialists.
For example, our range of laundry products have been dermatologically tested, carrying the Allergy UK seal of approval and have been created for people with sensitive skin. They contain no fragrances, enzymes, acids and dyes. These are all things which could irritate skin and found in many common washing brands.
4. Manage Mould
Mould particles can be found throughout your home and they release microscopic spores into the air, which can trigger a reaction when they come into contact with skin. Mould loves damp conditions and there are lots of places around the home that it will likely be lurking. This could be in the seals of your fridge, around the washing machine seal, around window frames, on your shower curtain, on wallpaper – the list goes on.
You should keep on top of mould by cleaning hotspots regularly with bleach. Don’t forget to vacuum as soon as you have wiped down any areas to capture invisible spores too. Ventilation is also crucial to keeping mould at bay. A great idea is to cook with an extractor fan on and opening windows. This will help to avoid build ups.
5. Furry Friends
When a pet licks and grooms itself, the allergen is transferred to its hair. Pet hair itself can also act as a carrier of other allergens such as pollen, house dust mites, mould and more. Keep pets out of bedrooms and do not allow them to sit or sleep on soft furnishings, such as sofas and beds and remember to wash pet beds at over 60 degrees as our pets can suffer from allergies too.
The UK has some of the highest prevalence rates of allergic conditions in the world. The numbers growing five per cent every year. Unfortunately for many it is a case of living with the condition day by day. This means that it is crucial to get on top of allergens in order to live a healthy and happy life.