Allergies are a miserable but common problem that can affect people of all ages. Symptoms can range from mild sneezing, coughing and itchy eyes, to more serious respiratory issues such as asthma. A common misconception is that allergies are only triggered by outdoor factors such as pollen but, if you’re stuffed up or suffering from itchy eyes in the comfort of your own home, you may have an indoor allergy.
Indoor allergies are caused by a variety of home pollutants including dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, and cockroaches, and can have a significant impact on your quality of life.
Soraya Sawan, co-founder of 100 per cent natural home care brand Rooted Regimen, shares seven effective ways to reduce allergens so you can enjoy an allergy-free abode.
Get A HEPA Air Purifier
We encounter allergens through airborne particles including dust, pollen, pet dander, and mold spores. All these particles can trigger or worsen an allergy, asthma and other respiratory symptoms. Protect yourself by using an air purifier, which can remove these tiny particles by trapping them in a filter. Air purifiers with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter can capture up to 99.7 per cent of particles, making them highly effective at reducing air allergens. Also, consider using a vacuum loaded with a HEPA filter as a powerful way of removing household dust and dirt.
Use Non-Toxic Products
What you use to clean your home is paramount to your health and the air quality of your home. Many of the chemicals in conventional cleaning products are toxic or corrosive and contain a plethora of harmful chemicals including Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – chemicals that vaporise at room temperature – ammonia, colorants, synthetic fragrances, parabens, bleach, etc. These chemicals end up on the utensils you use to eat, stick to your clothes and skin, and affect the air you breathe. Switching to non-toxic cleaning products can reduce allergic reactions and will profoundly impact your overall health.
At Rooted Regimen, we’ve developed a non-toxic, 100 per cent plant and mineral-based formula that covers all your home cleaning needs, from laundry to dishes, floor cleaning and everything in between. Our powerful, proprietary products are gentle and safe for everyone, including infants or chemical sensitivities.
Ditch Scented Products
Synthetic fragrances are laden with harmful chemicals that can seriously affect any allergy you may have. While many think candles, perfumes, room fresheners, plug-ins and scented cleaning products clean the air at home, this could not be further from the truth. Often these unlikely culprits – as soothing as they might smell – can in fact trigger or worsen allergies as they release a host of chemicals that irritate the respiratory system. Burning paraffin wax – used in 95 per cent of shop shelf candles – produces soot with particles that can remain in the air for hours after. In size and composition, these ultra fine particles are similar to diesel exhaust and can penetrate the lungs.
Simply switching to fragrance-free – or naturally fragranced products – can ease allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, and other allergic reactions.
Adopt a No-Shoe Policy
Shoes can be a breeding ground for germs, bacteria, and other toxins that can make you sick or exacerbate an allergy. Did you know that over 400,000 bacteria live on your shoes? A study by the University of Arizona found that an average of 421,000 bacteria live on the outside of a shoe, while about 2,887 live on the inside. The soles of your shoes can also pick up heavy doses of pesticides, fecal matter, allergens, and other toxic chemicals. All of these toxins cling to your shoes, and if you wear your shoes around the house, these nasties will stick to tiles and carpets in your home.
Additionally, bacteria and other germs tend to live longer on the bottom of your outdoor shoes. This is because your shoes also pick up organic matter from plants and soil that help bacteria thrive.
Use a Dehumidifier
Mold and mildew – which can trigger an allergic reaction – grows in moist or damp areas around the house, especially bathrooms, under-the-sink cupboards and air conditioning ducts. Dust mites also love high humidity levels and are one of the most common triggers of allergy and asthma symptoms. The best way to prevent mold and mildew – and get rid of those mites – is by keeping areas clean and dry with a dehumidifier that can manage the humidity levels in your home.
Control Pet Dander
While we love our furry friends, their dander and saliva can wreak havoc on allergies. Any animal with fur can be a source of pet allergy, but they are most commonly associated with cats and dogs. In fact, up to 20 per cent of the world’s population is allergic to feline and canine fur balls. If you have one at home and are experiencing sneezing and a runny nose, make sure to vacuum daily and bathe them once a week in order to reduce dander in your home. Again, a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter is an effective way to capture pet dander.
Let’s be honest, we all have a little clutter in our homes. Unfortunately, clutter provides ideal shelter for dust, dust mites, pet dander, and other allergens. So whenever possible, declutter and organise your home to reduce unwanted allergens.
Note: If you have severe or specific allergies, please consult with your doctor to create a treatment plan that is right for you.
Soraya – along with her husband Bassem – is the co-founder of Rooted Regimen, a UAE based, natural range of home cleaning products. Rooted Regimen offers ethical, safe and toxin – free home care products on a completely online platform. Each product is sold in recyclable, reusable packaging to ensure minimum harm to the planet, with tough ingredients that can leave any space looking spotless.
Bassem and Soraya believe that everyone deserves access to safe and affordable home cleaning products, which they ensure by operating from a 100 per cent digital platform and adopting a refill model. They believe that a healthy home is the first step to building a healthy planet and are committed to ensuring the same for everyone.