Monday, 2 June 2014

How To Help Reduce Allergies, Eczema & Asthma Symptoms In Your Home

Last week I was invited to an information event in London which was hosted by Dyson, with the purpose of providing parents with tips on how to reduce the bugs and dust that cause allergies in children (and us!). Scarily it's estimated that 50% of children have allergies and this is increasing.

Dust Mite (Pic: Wikipedia)
I've always known that we get dust mites in our beds (learnt that when I was always tucked into bed with the phrase "night night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite" by my mum, but I didn't realise just quite how many there were and where else they like to live in your home!

21 million of us in the UK suffer from at least one kind of allergy, such as asthma, eczema or hayfever, and this is increasing by 5% each year according to the Dyson engineer who hosted the event, but there are ways to reduce the symptoms and also the risks of contracting these allergies.

There are three main allergens: Dust Mites, Pollen and Pets. It's apparently estimated that there are 150 million people in Europe that have an allergy, and surprisingly it's in fact Europe's most common form of disease.

If we can reduce the amount of these allergens in the home, then we can reduce the risk of our children developing some allergies, or can at least reduce their symptoms if they already have them.

Tips to combat these 3 main allergens:

Dust mites

It's not the actual mites that we are allergic to, it's their poo! The protein in their waste is what causes the allergic reaction, and they love to feed on our dead skin that we shed each day, so by reducing their ability to do this, helps reduce them.

There can be up to 3 million of these creepy crawlies in our mattresses alone (even more of an excuse for me to save my pennies for a new bed) and they also like our pillows and bedding. They love warm, humid places, and overnight we tend to shed a lot of skin (we can shed up to 28 grams per month, urgh!).

So to get rid of as many of these little pests as possible, do the following:

-Change your pillow at least once a year; They actually get heavier with the mites and faeces the longer you have them.

-DONT make your bed each morning (you don't need to ask me twice!), instead keeping your duvet off the mattress so the bed can cool down and help kill the mites.

-Vacuum your mattress regularly

-These little bugs can live in our make up brushes, duvets, and worst of all children's teddies, so put the teddies in a plastic bag and then into the freezer for 24 hours every so often to kill the mites. I've started doing this and my son gives me strange looks when he sees me taking his teddies out of the freezer and then clings onto them for dear life for a few hours in case I take them again!

-Keep your soft furnishings clean too, as they can like those areas too.

-Wash your bedding at 60 degrees, and wash them every one to two weeks.

-Take your shoes off at the front door, as the soles of the shoes can contain lots of little bugs from outside that can also cause us problems.


-Pollen can be found on our floors so vacuum regularly to remove it.

-90% of hayfever sufferers (me included) have an allergy to grass, so keep your grass very short to avoid it flowering and producing the pollen.

-Avoid hanging your clothes to dry outside in the early morning and late evening, as these are the times when pollen is the highest.


-It's not the fur we are allergic to, it's their saliva. They of course lick themselves clean, and these bits of fur containing the saliva can be spread around the home and on our clothes. Cats allergens are particularly sticky, so harder to get rid of (like I needed any more excuses to avoid getting a cat for life!). So again it's about vacuuming often, and using a vacuum designed for pet hair (such as Dyson's new Cinetic) helps to remove more of their hair.

-Wash pet beds regularly at 60 degrees.


Dyson Cinetic
During this event, I got to see Dyson's brand new vacuum, the Cinetic, which has some brilliant features that can help with some of the above issues.

Dyson is the only European appliance manufacturer that has their own lab, where they breed dust mites in order to research the best ways to remove them (they feed them dog biscuits and keep them in parrot feeders funnily enough).

They also test their vacuums on a lot of dust, 10 years worth of dust which is 2 tonnes to be exact, to ensure the vacuum can last at least 10 years (and they come with a 5 year guarantee which I think is pretty good).

Close Up Of Cinetic's Small Cyclones
The Cinetic model is their newest invention and features small cyclones that work together to get rid of microscopic particles of dust. These cyclones also have tips (red bits in the photo) which prevent them from clogging up.

The cyclone technology they use means there is no bag or filter that need emptying and cleaning, and they use strong seals which ensure the suction does not reduce EVER during the ten years they think it will last. 

Check out the video I took of the Cinetic being used alongside another company's vacuum (see below). They were both removing bicarbonate soda from a hard floor surface (this is apparently similar to dust in it's consistency).

The results were quite shocking!

The other brilliant thing about this model is that it filters out clean air when it's being used. My old (and rather dirty) hoover constantly makes my place smell dusty when I hoover, as it spews out warm air (and probably dust) as I use it.

For all of these reasons I really want one, but at the moment I'm in no position to part with £420 for the multi-floor version or £460 for the animal version. So I have to keep my fingers crossed that Dyson may want to use me to review one for you lovely readers, and settle by making sure I complete all the other tips above, because my son has eczema and I have both asthma and hayfever, so would like to keep these allergies as minimal as possible!

Whilst this Dyson event gave me huge motivation to do another spring clean of my home, and helped me pretty much freak out about the thought of all the potential mites and faeces my son and I are around, it's also important to know that it's good for us to be exposed to some of this, because it helps us to build our immune systems. This fact alone is a great excuse for me not to have to make my home pristine, and has helped me sleep in my mite-infested bed a lot easier!

No payment was received for this post- Dyson invited me to their information event and reimbursed my travel expenses only. All opinions are honest and my own.

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  1. Eww!! I don't like thinking about things like this but great tips....
    I actually feel like cleaning

  2. Yuck, I do like the not laking your bed bit #MagicMoments

  3. YUK; It's horrible to think what we all share a bed with. My son gets exzema so thanks for the tips.

  4. I'm sitting in bed reading this & am now imagining all the dust mites beneath me!

  5. I am allergic to dust mites and my son is showing all the signs. Fantastic tips so thank you for reminding me! We love our Dyson and it does work wonders. ##alphabetphoto

  6. Fantastic tips, thanks for sharing #sharewithme

  7. I dread to think what's in our house. Luckily none of us suffer, and the dogs are outdoor dogs, but being on a farm, I'm sure we get the extra bits inside.

    I was lucky enough to review/test the Cinetic with Mumsnet/Dyson, and it is a really great vacuum. Horrifying how much it picks up even when you think the house is clean. Much better than our old Henry which I was never a fan of, but even my OH's coming round (plus it's light enough for the 3yo to use!

  8. Awesome machine =) #alphabetphoto

  9. Oh that dust mite is gross! Great tips :) #sharewithme

  10. Uum, off to buy new pillows! #alphabetphoto

  11. You couldn't have shared a more perfect post for me, my son has severe allergies to a lot of things but hayfever, asthma and eczema are all on our list too. Animals too but we have none for that reason. I have mostly hardwood floors as I was told carpets are horrible for all of these but you have given me great tips here and I will be doing them including the teddy in the freezer trick pronto!!! Makes me want to go scrub my entire house top to bottom. lol Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

  12. Great tips. I do a few of them already but hadn't thought of the pillows!! Off to buy some new ones #alphabetphoto

  13. I am itching all over now! And I really want new pillows!!

  14. I'm allergic to dust mites so regularly buy new pillows, wash everything in hot water etc but didn't know about the cuddlies!

  15. Great post although eww!!! We should probably do more given we're a scatchy household! Thanks for sharing with #alphabetphoto

  16. I never even thought about vacuuming my mattress! Great post Claire. Thanks for linking up to the #binkylinky

  17. Thanks for the tips! My children will be very pleased by not having to make their beds. Also didn't know it was the pets saliva that caused the problem

  18. Glad I have given you some useful tips guys!


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