Let me begin by confessing that I’m not very diligent when it comes to housework. My house is reasonably clean and tidy, but I do have the occasional dust bunny hiding in a corner. My problem is that I can always find something much more interesting or fun to do than housework.
I read an article recently, though, that has made me rethink my standards. As a person who suffers from allergies, there is much more I can be doing to create a healthy environment. An allergy test last year revealed that I’m sensitive to fungal spores, dust mites, pet dander and the four most common pollens.
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The problem is that common household dust contains all of these components as well as other nasties like dust mites (and their poop,) hair, skin, tiny food particles and lots of different fibres.
These particles swirl around us as we move through our home and settle on every surface. They can cause asthma, itching, hayfever and flu-like symptoms. Prolonged exposure can cause damage to our lungs.
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While we can’t completely eliminate dust, there are measures we can take to lessen its impact on our health. We can:
• Clean more regularly, and those of us who are particularly sensitive should wear a dust mask when doing so.
• Vacuum instead of sweeping.
• Use a damp cloth instead of a feather duster.
• Remember to clean all those tricky places like air-conditioner filters, tops of cupboards and doors, ceiling-fan blades, window sills and screens and under beds and sofas.
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• Remove carpets and replace with flooring that is washable.
• Give pets their own beds with removable and washable covers.
• Brush pets fur regularly to remove loose hairs. Wear a mask when doing this. Keep long-haired dogs groomed. It may be worth investing in professional grooming.
• Consider the type of window dressing we use. Slatted blinds collect a lot of dust and are hard to clean, curtains should be washable.
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