Monday, June 16, 2014

My TOP 5 ways to minimise allergies

This post is in collaboration with Latex Mattresses Australia

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Unfortunately we're not strangers to allergies in this house. Bub isn't the only one who has allergies though, I've suffered for as long as I can remember with extremely bad sinus and asthma. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked if I have a cold when my sinus is playing up (because I've lost count). Winter is pretty much my worst nightmare when it comes to my allergies because they always, without fail, flare up during winter each year. The sudden change in temperature combined with all the coughs and colds spreading like wildfire throughout the community = asthma and sinus hell for me. Every year I get at least one sinus infection (usually 2 or 3) and every few years I end up with a serious chest infection.

Asthma affects 10% of Australians* (over 2 million people) and over 3 million Australians** suffer with sinusitis or hayfever. I'm just one of the lucky unlucky ones who has both. Yay me, not. Having suffered for years I'm quite accustomed to dealing with my allergies, however its still quite scary when I have a bad asthma attack or an intense bout of sinus. Its super scary when I get both at the same time - not being able to breathe properly through your nose and mouth simultaneously is one of the scariest things you can ever experience. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Since sinusitis and asthma are so common, I've put together a list of the non-medicated ways I try to minimise my allergies. The best way to manage an allergy of course is to reduce your exposure to known allergens; for me the biggest trigger for both my asthma and sinus is dust (and dust mites) so I try to remove dust as much as possible.

top five ways to minimise allergies


  • Wash bed linen regularly - When you add up how many hours you spend in your bed each week you soon realise how quickly the bedding gets dirty. If you're getting an average of 8hrs sleep a night it means you're spending 56hrs a week in the same sheets. Thats a whole heap of sweat and yuk building up in your bed each week providing the perfect environment for dust mites to thrive in. Ideally bedding should be washed weekly in hot water with a eucalyptus based detergent (both hot water and eucalyptus kill dust mites).

  • Use hypo-allergenic bedding - I'm a big fan of hypo-allergenic materials such as bamboo. I first started using it after searching organic fabrics because of bubs skin reactions. I now use bamboo sheets and a bamboo lined sleeping bag for her. While researching bamboo and other hypo-allergenic materials I discovered they also repel dust mites along with other allergens. I'm currently on the search for some bamboo sheets for our bed as well.
    T and I also got our act together and bought proper pillows a year ago. By proper I mean contoured latex pillows instead of the $10-only-good-for-two-weeks cheapies I used to buy (and replace) regularly. Latex is also hypo-allergenic and anti-bacterial. We're currently considering getting a latex mattress too because ours is desperately in need of replacing.

  • Vacuum often - Ok so this one is a little obvious. If you want to be less exposed to dust, remove the dust, right? But did you know you should also vacuum your mattress? Even though you cant see dust mites, you can be sure those little buggers are happily crawling around your mattress (personally I'm glad we can't see them). Vacuuming won't eradicate them, but it will help to remove the build up of droppings and dead dust mites which cause a lot of reactions. Word of warning though when you vacuum your mattress you'll realise just how gross they get. We did this when we moved the bedroom around after moving the cot out, and it just added another reason to the list of why we want to replace our mattress. It does not look pretty after 8 years of use.

  • Clean out filters - This one can be easily overlooked, but its amazing how quickly exhaust fans in bathrooms and filters on air conditioners and vacuums can get congested with dust. That's a whole lot of extra dust you don't need flying around your home. While you're cleaning those look up and check any fan blades as well.

  • Don't use feather dusters - They simply move the dust from the surface into the air instead of actually removing it. Instead use a damp cloth which will collect the dust and remove it. In addition you could use a cleaning spray that contains eucalyptus oil.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it's a great place to start. Of course if your allergies are continuous you may need some sort of medication as well (please refer to your GP for individual advice). As a backup I make sure I always have anti-histamines and ventolin on hand just incase because murphy's law says that if I don't have any, thats when I'm going to need them. Yep I found that out the hard way.


Do you suffer from allergies too?
Do you have any other tips?


Toni xx

Disclosure - this is a paid post in conjunction with Latex Mattresses Australia.

*Australian Bureau of Statistics
** Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Linking with Eva, Alicia and Kirsty


24 comments:

  1. Great tips! esp the feather duster...didn't realise

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    1. yea feather dusters are baaaad (at least if you're allergic to dust).

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  2. Worrying how similar my sinus/asthma story is to yours. It is scary too, how I can see this story repeating in one of my sons. I use a netti pot. I don't know if it technically does anything, but the relief I feel after I use it is amazing.

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    1. I'm worried my daughter will end up with the same issues as me too and its really scary thinking I may have to deal with her having childhood asthma. I've never used a netti pot, I'll have to check that out.

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  3. I've had dreadful allergies for years, ending up undergoing 2 years of injections to reduce my sensitivity which has helped a lot. Still need to take a steroid nasal spray each day though. Allergic to the usual things - dust mites, cat hair, tobacco, grass seeds, pollen etc.

    Mr 20 began having allergy problems, so he washed his bedding - voila - no more allergies. Heaven only knows how long it had been since he'd washed them!!!!!!!!

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    1. Must've been a while between washes if it cleared up his allergies just by washing :)

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  4. Hayfever ever change of seasons especially spring. Thank goodness this year I am not pregnant or breastfeeding so I can use the awesome nose spray!!

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    1. Being pregnant was so bad for me too. I ended up in hospital for a day towards the end after an asthma attack because I couldn't take my preventer during winter.

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  5. I'm a sinus sufferer and my son has eczema and a dust mite allergy so we are aware of a lot of these points. For me, it's just finding the time to clean as often as we need to to keep our suffering at bay. Great post Toni!

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    1. Yea I hear you. Cleaning with a ten month old is quite a battle.

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  6. Oh you poor thing. I couldn't imagine feeling that way so often!

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    1. I have sinus pretty much everyday thanks to my genetics (mum has it really bad too). I'm used to it because its always been this way, but it would be nice to be able to breathe properly without trying so hard.

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  7. My big one is sinus I am forever having a runny nose and it drives me bonkers. Slightest change of temp and my nose is off and running

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    1. Yea change of temp, windy days, colds, dust and dogs screw mine up bad.

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  8. Food allergies or more intolerance here for me. Miss 14 was suffering hay fever but a few visits to the chiro seemed to fix that.

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    1. We have the food allergies as well with bub. Allergies are horrible aren't they.

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  9. I get sinus trouble at this time of year. My house gets so dusty, especially when I sweep I can see the dust flying around if the light catches it. I vacuum more than I sweep because of it.
    We had a vacuum cleaner demonstration once on our mattress, I was disgusting the white dust that came out, a bit embarrassing too lol. I use tea tree oil for cleaning around the house, and I wipe the dust from surfaces too, bugger the duster, it is just moving the dust around!

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    1. I bought a wertheim vacuum cleaner with a power head for the carpet and its amazing how much extra fine dust the power head gets out when it already looks clean!

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  10. We struggle with this in our house too and these are great tips. At the moment I've got a bad cold, chest infection and my asthma is totally flared up so totally sympathise with you on how awful it is.

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    1. Yea unfortunately I know that feeling well. Hope you start to feel better soon x

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  11. Wonderful tips and we all suffer a bit from allergies in our house here. Definitely do vacuum often, but join to try to see about hypoallergenic bedding now. Stopping by from #SITSSharefest :)

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  12. Great tips. My poor hubby has terrible allergies, so I'm always looking for ways to help him!

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