Allergens lurking around the house

Dr Md Shahidullah | Update:

Allergies can be bothersome and persistent – coughing, sneezing, breathing problems, itching, rashes, and so on. One of the main ways to prevent these problems is to stay away from the cause of allergies, that is, the allergens. When the allergies just don’t go away, look around you and seek what is lurking around the house that is causing the problem.

Bedding: Dust and dust mites lurk around your bed sheets, pillowcases, pillows, quilts, blankets, bed covers and mattresses. Bed sheets, pillowcases and quilt covers should be washed at least once a week. Quilts, bed covers, blankets and even mattresses should be sunned occasionally. Ultraviolet rays of the sun drive away the dust mites.

Furniture: Dust and dust mites also are tucked away in chairs, tables, sofas, beds, cupboards, wardrobes and other furniture. Fungus breeds forms in damp areas. Furniture needs to be dusted every day. If the room is closed and damp, these should be taken outdoors or to the roof to be aired.

Carpets and rugs: Carpets and rugs attract dust mites and need to be vacuumed regularly. Persons with allergies should avoid keeping carpets in their homes. The plain floor can be swept and swabbed every day to keep it clean.

Doors and windows: Doors, windows and curtains need to be wiped and cleaned to get rid of dust, cobwebs and dust mites.

Kitchen: Fungus can grow in damp kitchens. Kitchens should be cleaned and kept dry after the work is done. There must be facilities to ensure smoke exits from the kitchen. The kitchen must have sufficient light and air.

Books: Dust settles on books and bookshelves and so the books should be kept clean. Regularly reading and moving of the books prevents dust from settling.

Toys: Stuffed and furry toys invite dust and dust mites. Washable toys should be washed regularly. Vacuum cleaners can be used on others.

Pets: Hair from dogs, cats, rabbits and other pets can cause allergy. Bird droppings can also cause allergy. Pets should be bathed regularly and the places they stay must be kept clean.

* Dr Md Shahidullah is professor and department head, Department of Community Medicine, Community Based Medical College, Mymensingh

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