An allergy happens when your body reacts to something it doesn’t like, causing a reaction such as itching eyes, sneezing, vomiting, inflammation of the skin, airways, or digestive system, sinuses and other symptoms.

Person scratching red area on upper arm

The reaction and degree of severity differs from person to person, but allergies can happen to anyone at any stage of their lives

In Singapore, a study conducted by scientists and doctors from A*STAR’s Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) and the National University of Singapore (NUS) found that a large majority of adults are allergic to dust mites.

This study was published in an issue of the scientific journal Allergy, where they tested the allergic responses of 8,000 people to 12 common respiratory allergens. It was reported that about 80 percent of those tested, showed allergic reactions to house dust mites and only minor reactivity to the other allergens.

Close up of dust mites

Types of Airborne Allergens

So, what are dust mites? They are microscopic insects that feed off our dead skin and are usually the main allergic component of house dust. They live in mattresses, upholstery and carpets.

Other airborne allergens include pollen, molds (fungi), pet dander (tiny flakes of shed skin), animal saliva, and cockroaches:

Pollen is a major cause of allergies (a pollen allergy is often called hay fever or rose fever), often seasonal. It is produced by trees, weeds, and grasses, which releases these tiny particles into the air to fertilize other plants.

Molds thrive both indoors and outdoors, especially in warm and moist environments. While molds tend to be seasonal, some can grow all-year-round, especially those indoors.

Pet allergens are caused by pet dander and animal saliva. When pets lick themselves, the saliva gets on their fur or feathers, and as it dries, the protein particles become airborne and work their way into fabrics in the home.

Pet urine also can cause allergies in the same way when it gets on airborne fur or skin, or when a pet pees in a spot that isn’t cleaned.

Cat in front of a woman sneezing

Cockroaches – because they carry a protein that is an allergen and even when it is dead, it can cause allergic reactions.

What Can I do?

It is often accepted that most allergies can’t be cured. But there are treatments that can help relieve symptoms and ways to manage the allergy so that you can avoid it completely or reduce the possibility of a reaction.

The National Parks Board (NParks) in Singapore offers some solutions to reduce contact with allergens in the house:

  1. Keep your house clean and well-ventilated.
  2. Wash walls and floors periodically.
  3. Vacuum your house regularly. Choose vacuum cleaners containing a High Efficiency Particulate Arresting (HEPA) filter, which can capture airborne allergens.
  4. Use HEPA filters in your bedroom.
  5. Place allergen-proof covers over mattresses and pillows. Blankets and sheets should be washed in hot water every week.
  6. Keep your pet out of the bedroom. This measure reduces your exposure to dander.
  7. Bathe your dog, or wipe down your cat with a damp cloth or wet wipe, weekly to remove the dander that accumulates on your pet’s fur.
  8. Have a non-asthmatic family member (if you are allergic) brush your pet outdoors regularly.
  9. Wash your hands after handling your pet.
  10. Wear a mask when changing cat litter.

These are valuable measures and will help you manage most airborne allergens, not just those from pets.

 I Don’t Always Have Time

Yes, we are all very busy people nowadays. But as a matter of health and especially if you or someone around you is susceptible to allergic reactions, it would be advisable to make a habit of cleaning your mattresses, upholstery and carpets, as they often affect the air quality.

Not just at home but in the office as well, places where you spend most of your time.

Or you could engage a professional to do it for you. While a simple vacuum is great at removing surface dirt and dust off your carpets, upholstery, and mattresses, a deep clean goes into the fibers and removes microorganisms like dust mites, mold, and fungi.

Carpet being cleaned

This keeps the air you breathe in the house clean and helps you to manage airborne allergens better.

With De Hygenique, there is also no downtime when we do a deep clean, and you can then continue with your daily routine without any disruption.

For more information on professional cleaning services, speak to us, or make an appointment today.

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