Spring Cleaning – Living Areas

start Spring Cleaning Now
Spring Cleaning

Have you started your Spring Cleaning yet?  Because we don’t have four seasons in South Florida only the calendar says it is Spring. We are about halfway through the dry season.  But, that doesn’t mean that we can’t do that annual deep clean.

History of Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning comes from a time when we relied more on wood, oil and coal burning sources for heat.  By the end of winter, after a home had been closed up for months in an effort to keep it warm the air was stuffy and most surfaces had accumulated ash and soot.  Warmer days meant a time to open the windows and doors and scrub away soot, ash, and dust.

You might not have a house full of ash and soot, but if you haven’t done a deep cleaning in awhile, there is no time like the present!  Don’t let the thought of a good Spring clean stop you before you get started.  While the idea is to clean every surface, that doesn’t mean you have to tackle the whole house at once.

For example, when I start a big cleaning job I break it down into rooms and tell myself I only need to do a few rooms at a time.  I generally start with the formal living and dining room and toss in a hallway or half-bath because these rooms are not filled with loads of “stuff” and I can finish them with minimal effort and get a feeling of accomplishment.

Develop a Spring Cleaning Strategy

It helps to have a plan of attack and assemble your cleaning supplies in advance.  I started last weekend and was able to accomplish quite a bit in just a few hours.  I always start at the top and work to the bottom.  This means first knocking down any cobwebs in those corners where the walls and ceilings meet before I clean the walls. Yes, that is right…I clean my walls at least once a year if not more often.

Because I have a Miele vacuum cleaner with an adjustable wand I have no problem reaching up the length of the wall to the 10′ ceiling.  I just put the smooth floor brush on the wand, fully extend it then start at the top and vacuum down.  If you have washable curtains of slip covers, this is a great time to get them in the wash.  I washed mine last week with a little De-Mite laundry additive to get rid of any dust mites that might have collected there.

Next tackle the woodwork. If you have crown molding, start there then work down to any chair rail and lastly baseboards.  Give all the furniture a good dusting and if knickknacks are washable, take them to the kitchen sink and give them a good washing.  Otherwise, dust with a damp cloth.  This is a great time to treat your upholstered furniture with a denaturing agent like ADMS Dust Mite Spray. After you vacuum the cushions and give them a flip, just spray lightly.

Finally clean the floors.  I used my Vapamore steam cleaner to clean my tile floors.  It does such a fantastic job of cleaning and brings out the natural shine in the tile.  I do confess that I covet the new Primo model.  I have the old style MR100 and I have to keep a towel handy to purge and it doesn’t have the nifty retractable cord.  I would say that when mine is ready for replacement I will get the Primo, but unfortunately I know that my steam cleaner is like my Miele vacuum cleaner and is so well made it won’t need replacing for many years to come.  If you have sealed wood or laminate floors, you can steam clean them as well.

If you have carpet, vacuum thoroughly, including the little cracks by the baseboard and then treat with X-Mite Powder or ADMS Dust Mite Spray.  If you use the X-Mite Powder, be sure to sweep it in thoroughly and then go on to cleaning the next room.  X-Mite needs to sit on the carpet for 3 hours to work properly.  If you are using the ADMS Spray, just lightly spray after you vacuum and call the room done.

You might have noticed that I didn’t mention anything about the windows.  That is because I don’t try to Spring Clean inside and outside at the same time.  I used to clean windows when I cleaned a room, but I found that gathering the extra supplies and running in and out just seemed to make the process last longer.  Now I clean all the windows in one fell swoop.  That is usually after I have the majority of the home deep cleaned or I can sweet talk my dear husband into doing it for me.

I also find it helps to set a time limit.  For example, I will tell myself I am going to deep clean “insert name of room/rooms” and I am going to have it done in “x hours”.

Otherwise I will make myself crazy and a 2 to 3 hour project will consume 6 or 7 hours.

If you have Spring cleaning tips, I’d love to hear them….just post your comments.
Til Next Time!

©Copyright 1996-2017 AllergyStore.com™ All Rights Reserved

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrss

What is a Dust Allergy?

Achoo!  Darn that dust allergy!  Have you or someone you love ever uttered these words?  We blame dust allergy for many things:

  • Sneezing
  • wheezing
  • itchy, watery eyes
  • coughing
  • stuffy nose
  • runny nose

But exactly what is dust allergy?  Let’s take a look.

Dust Allergy Isn’t Allergy to Dust

To understand dust allergy, you need to understand dust.  “Dust” is a mixture of particles.  The specific composition varies by location.  David Layton and Paloma Beamer, professors of environmental policy at the University of Arizona did a study of dust in the United States to try to figure out what is in the stuff.  It was gross.  As a rule, they found household dust is made up of:

  • tiny bits of shed human skin
  • bits of animal fur and skin
  • decomposing insects
  • food debris
  • fibers from clothes, bedding and other fabrics
  • tracked-in soil
  • soot
  • residual particles from smoking and cooking

Some samples even contained lead, arsenic and  DDT.  Makes you wonder where they were collecting samples, but it was just households in Midwest states and Sacramento California.

So, you don’t really have an allergy to dust, you have an allergy to one or more components of dust.  Most commonly the decomposing insects in the form of dust mites.

dust mites cause dust allergy
Dust Mite

Dust Mites and Dust Mite Allergy

Ever wonder about dust mites?  They are microscopic creatures related to spiders.  Dust mites feed on shed human skin (one of the components of dust). They don’t bite, but their gut contains a protein that they use to digest our skin. This protein (der f1) is the source of the “dust” allergy.  Every time the dust mite poops, a bit of this protein is excreted along with the fecal pellet. Gross right?  The hard cuticle that covers the mite body also contains the protein.  When the dust mite dies, it doesn’t create any additional allergen in the form of fecal matter but it does create an explosion of allergen as the body decomposes.  The allergy-causing protein from the gut and the cuticle are released as the mite rots.  Even grosser.   So many people with dust allergy actually have dust mite allergy.

Pet Allergy

Another major component of household dust are those little bits of animal skin and fur.  Those generally come from household pets.  Certain furred animals have proteins in their saliva and urine that cause allergic reactions in humans.  The proteins most commonly found attached to the skin and fur in house dust are from cats and dogs.  Horses are also a source of allergen, but few people keep a horse in their house.   As the animal grooms its coat or empties its bladder, bits of the saliva or urine stick to skin and fur.  When these are shed they become part of the dust soup.

Control the Allergens to Control the Allergy

So, controlling your dust allergy is all about knowing what in the dust triggers your reaction and then reducing your exposure to that trigger.  You can visit an allergist for testing.  Skin challenge or simple blood tests can pull back the veil on your triggers.  In the case of dust mite or pet allergy, immunotherapy can help.

You can reduce your exposure to the allergens in dust by reducing your exposure to dust.  Frequent cleaning with damp rags and vacuuming with a HEPA filtered vacuum machine reduces dust.

You can also use allergy control products.  The Top 5 Allergy Control Products will give you the most relief for the dollar and effort spent.  You should check them out.  Not sure where to start?  Call The Allergy Store at 1-800-771-2246.  We can help.

So, next time you curse that dust allergy, remember it isn’t the dust. It’s what’s in the dust that matters.

Til next time

Cheryl

 

 

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrss

Can Allergies Cause Chest Pains?

Do you have pain in the chest this Valentine’s Day?  That feeling might not be a broken heart.  Chest pain is a symptom of allergies and allergy-related conditions.  Pain in the center of the chest that feels like squeezing along with pain in the arms, back, neck or jaw can be heart attack.  That’s when you need to call 911.  But if you have a persistent tightness in the larger chest area, it may be a condition related to allergies.

Allergy Induced Asthma

Asthma Cigarettes – Seriously?

Uncontrolled allergies can lead to asthma.  Asthma inflames your airways, makes them narrow,  and fills them with mucous.  This makes breathing difficult.  You may hear a wheezing noise as you breathe.  You may also cough.

During an asthma attack, your chest may feel tight.  Some people describe it as a feeling of something pressing down on the chest.

The repeated coughing and gasping for air associated with asthma can cause damage to the scalene muscles.  These muscles are located on the side of the neck and attach the neck vertebrae to the 1st and 2nd ribs. Scalene muscle damage causes pain in the upper chest that may or may not radiate down the arm.

Medication and allergy avoidance control asthma.  Talk to your doctor and if you have asthma, know how to prepare for an asthma attack.

Allergy Medication Side Effects

Thatpills for allergies pill you swallowed to relieve your allergy symptoms can cause chest pain.  If you take allergy medications that include the decongestant pseudoephedrine you know how well it works.

What you might not know is that tightness in the chest is one of the many side effects of pseudoephedrine.

Talk to your doctor about alternative medications that do not contain this ingredient if you are sensitive.

Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis

People that are sensitive to dust and other inhaled allergens can experience Hypersensitivity pneumonitis if they do not control their exposure.  This can be caused by living or working in dusty areas and has even been associated with molds coming from the HVAC system.  The primary symptom is tightness and pain in the chest.  It is caused by repeatedly inhaling allergens and can cause serious scarring of the lungs.  Reversible if caught early; if not can lead to pulmonary fibrosis.

Control Your Allergies!

If you have allergies, asthma, scalene muscle damage or hypersensitivity pneumonitis you know it isn’t a pain in the neck, it’s a pain in the chest and it can be serious.  Talk to your doctor and then talk to The Allergy Store about controlling your exposure to allergens.

Frequent washing, using allergen proof bedding, and allergen reducing products in your home can all reduce your exposure to allergens.  We can’t mend a broken heart, but we can control allergens.  We’d love to help you!

Til Next Time!

Cheryl

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrss