Allergies happen when a person’s immune system reacts to substances, called allergens, which are found all around us.
All sorts of asthma and allergy triggers can gather in your home, especially house dust mites and mould. Avoiding allergens won’t cure your asthma, however reducing your triggers may improve your asthma control and reduce your need for medication.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to help you find out what you are allergic to and show you how to avoid your triggers.
House dust mites and mould
House dust mites are the most common allergic trigger for asthma in Australia. These microscopic creatures feed off skin scales and grow well in mild and humid climates such as coastal areas.
Exposure to indoor and outdoor areas that are damp and have mould may also trigger asthma symptoms in some people.
Reducing dust mites at home
- Wash sheets and pillowcases every week in water hotter than 55°C
- Remove soft toys from bedrooms, or wash every week in water hotter than 55°C
- Open curtains and air bedding in the sunshine and give them a regular clean
- Consider venetian blinds, flat blinds, or even external shutters, as they are easier to clean than heavy curtains
- Cover mattresses, quilts and pillows with dust mite-resistant cases
- Use a damp or electrostatic cloth to dust hard surfaces including floors
- Ask someone to vacuum for you as this increase’s allergens in the air for up to 20 minutes. Also consider using a vacuum cleaner with an asthma and allergy sensitive HEPA filter
- Keep rooms dry and well ventilated
- Clear out clutter
- Consider how you could reduce house dusts mites if you’re building or renovating.
- Remove visible mould with fermented vinegar– if you are sensitive to strong odours, wear a mask or ask someone else to do it for you
- Use a dehumidifier to remove moisture and/or an air purifier with a HEPA filter– to reduce air borne mould spores
- Have good natural air circulation and use extractor fans
- Seal any leaks in bathrooms and roofs
- Clear overflowing gutters and blocked underfloor vents
- Remove indoor pot plants as they can promote mould growth
- Dry or remove wet carpets
- Treat rising damp as soon as it is discovered
- Avoid using organic mulches and compost heaps.
Information contained in this brochure is not intended to replace professional medical advice. Any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a doctor.