Allergy UK is the leading national charity dedicated to supporting the estimated 21 million allergy sufferers in the UK.
They have lots of practical advice for allergy sufferers on their website, along with a brilliant helpline and a range of ‘Allergy Friendly’ products.
Click the logo above to visit them.
Welcome to the HayMaxTM Indoor Allergies guide.
Indoor allergies are very common, with dust and pet allergies being two of the most prevalent. It’s near on impossible to remove every possible allergen from your home, but there are lots of simple ways to limit them. Have a nose through this page if you would like to know more. At HayMaxTM we’re big advocates of prevention, after all… less allergen, less reaction.
“A dust mite allergy is in fact a reaction to proteins in the excretion of the dust mites. “
Why do I react?
An allergic reaction is an overreaction of the body’s immune system to an otherwise harmless substance. The substance which triggers the reaction is called an ‘allergen’. This can be anything from pollen and dust, to foods or even latex.
The body reacts by producing excess histamines, which are part of an overreaction of the immune system. This causes symptoms which can range from a rash or itching to difficulty breathing.
Spending more time inside during cooler months, (meaning increased contact with dust or pet allergens), can cause symptoms to flare up and become difficult to manage. This may actually be the first time someone realises that they have an allergy.
Indoor allergy symptoms caused by dust or pets can be very similar to the more well known hay fever symptoms.
Common symptoms include;
- Sore, itchy, watery, red eyes.
- Sneezing and wheezing.
- Cold like symptoms such as a runny nose and sinus pain. (Many people believe they have a ‘winter cold’ when their symptoms are a result of spending more time inside amongst dust or pet allergens than in the summer).
- Asthma can be triggered by many of the allergens found in our homes.
- In some rare cases, sufferers can experience extreme symptoms such as shortness of breath or even anaphylaxis. (Click here to visit the Anaphylaxis Campaign website– a brilliant charity which supports people with severe allergies).
All about dust, pets (and poo).
Dust (and poo)
All homes in the UK have dust mites, but due to their tiny size (around 0.25-0.3mm) and translucent bodies they are almost invisible to the naked eye (don’t worry – unless you have a dust mite allergy, they are harmless).
A dust mite allergy is in fact a reaction to proteins in the excretion of the dust mites. Yes, that’s right, you’re allergic to dust mite poo.
When the allergenic proteins are breathed in or make contact with the skin of an allergic person, their body reacts with typical asthma and hay fever symptoms – wheezing, sneezing, runny nose and soreness and redness of the in the skin and eyes.
Dust mites thrive in warm humid environments, our beds being one of their favourite spots. We spend about a third of our day in bed, shedding skin cells and creating moisture with our breath and bodies which the microscopic mites need to live on.
Watch the Allergy UK dust mite feature on the BBC News, fascinating stuff!
The most common form of pet allergy is an allergy to the tiny particles of dead skin and saliva which are shed by the animal and subsequently become airborne. These microscopic particles are known as ‘dander’.
Cats are generally more allergenic than dogs, as the particles shed from them are smaller than the particles shed from dogs, which means that they become airborne more easily and are airborne for longer. Airborne particles can easily fly up the nose, triggering lots of nasty symptoms.
Unless you are severely allergic to pets, there are lots of ways to avoid the allergens which don’t involve getting rid of your cat. See our Allergy Avoidance Tips below to find out how.
Allergen avoidance- practical tips for dodging allergy danger zones around the home.
At HayMaxTM, we love to say ‘less allergen, less reaction’. What this means is that prevention is key with allergies. No home is 100% allergen free, but there are some simple ways to minimise the allergens around you. Here are some simple, easy to implement tips:
- Keep pets off of sofas and beds (out of the bedroom altogether if possible).
- Damp dust surfaces regularly.
- Vacuum regularly. It may also be beneficial to install “Allergy Friendly” flooring. (Click here to see the Allergy UK range).
- Use allergy friendly mattress covers and bedding. (Click here to see the Allergy UK range).
- Keep cuddly toys and blankets in a cupboard to prevent the build up of allergens on them.
- Don’t dry clothes inside over a radiator – this increases the humidity in your home and can result in mould, which releases tiny spores into the air that you breathe.
- Mould and dust mites thrive in moist environments. Keep the humidity in your house between 40% and 20% to control allergens.
- Be careful when using harsh chemicals for cleaning. The fumes can exacerbate breathing problems (a common trigger for asthma) and cause skin irritation.
Remember… You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention.