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Allergens in the Home

In the past 25 years, the incidence of allergies has doubled in western countries and scientists are at a loss to explain this phenomenon (Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy). Health statistics reveal a disturbing story: peanut allergies has more than doubled in the past 5 years, 1 in 4 children now have asthma and hospital admissions for anaphylaxis – a potentially life threatening allergic reaction – has increased by 700%. Most authorities agree that environmental factors play a major role. An allergy is an abnormal, overreaction of the body’s immune system to a substance which under normal circumstances is harmless.

SOURCES OF ALLERGENS IN THE HOME

Here are some sources of allergens likely to be in a home. For a detailed discussion on all sources, refer to the book Healthy Home, Healthy Family.

HEALTH CONCERNS

Symptoms will vary depending on the cause of the problem. Where pollens may cause hay fever, pet dander can cause anaphylactic reactions which can be life threatening.

TESTING YOUR HOME

Air testing is a complicated procedure that requires a thorough knowledge of the sources of hazards in and around the building, an understanding of the current exposure standards, and the use of highly technical and expensive equipment. A building biologist will test your home for dust and ultra fine particles and provide you with advice to reduce your exposure levels. For details, click here.

SOLUTIONS

This depends on the source of the problem. Refer to the specific allergen for some tips.

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DID YOU KNOW

Australia and New Zealand have the highest prevalence of allergies in the developed world.