Health

What's in your dust? How to prevent allergies in your home

By: Canadian Living
Canadian Living
Health

What's in your dust? How to prevent allergies in your home

By: Canadian Living
While I'm mildly fanatic about cleaning in general, my real love is vacuuming. I'm a vacuuming fiend (it's a ridiculously satisfying chore) and often wonder how I could possibly be producing so much dust. Where is it coming from and could it be contributing to seasonal allergies or even lead to more colds and flus in the winter? dyson So when Dyson gave me the opportunity to test drive one of their high-tech machines and then offered up their lab to analyze my dust bin results I couldn't turn them down. Though I was clearly terrified (what if there's something horrid and toxic in my dust particles?) the hypochondriac in me had to give it a go. DC65Gallery718x4541.ashx  

This D66 Animal is a beauty.

After a few weeks of vacuuming up a storm, I returned my unit and Dyson's lab gave me the verdict on my dust. First, their analysis was able to pinpoint just how many people were living in the house and what kind of hair they had (both length and colour) based on the hair samples vacuumed up. Second, the report said there may be a  cat living in the house. Um, we do  NOT own a cat. That is horrifying because it means that even though we've lived in our place for close to seven months, someone else's old cat hair is still lurking around. How this is possible with the amount I vacuum, I'll never know but it basically means if you have a pet their hair is resilient and may be contributing to hidden allergies. Third, the analysis stated that outdoor footwear appeared to be worn indoors (based on the abundance of soil particulate material in the sample and also the presence of large vehicle traffic-related particulate matter such as tire wear). Yes, that's accurate, my boyfriend cycles and carries his bike in and out with his shoes on basically all the time much to my dismay. Read here for reasons why taking off your shoes at home is key! Dyson also asked me to vacuum my mattress for this test. Apparently, they recommend vacuuming your mattress once a month. (Who knew?) Thankfully there were no dust mites present in the bedding. I credit this to my insane amount of washing and sheet changing. But because I'm a germaphobic hypochondriac this information also prompted me to invest in a dust mite cover for my boyfriend's not-so-new mattress after this test so I think we're covered either way now. A few interesting stats:
  • Did you know that it only takes 0.000001 grams to trigger the coughing, sneezing and itching of a reaction?
  • 41 percent of Canadians vacuum their home once a week (Go you!)
  • 61 percent of Canadians vacuum their mattress less than four times a year, including 35 per cent who never vacuum their mattress (Like I said, I had no idea this was even a thing. Now you know, Canada!)
  A few ways to prevent allergies in your home:
  • Look for a vacuum that is certified allergy and asthma friendly by an association (such as the Asthma Society of Canada) especially if you are an allergy sufferer.
  • Regularly vacuum your home
  • Wash your hands often
  • Regularly vacuum upholstery, such as your couch
  • Wash bedding every week in hot water
How do you prevent seasonal allergies and get rid of dust? I'd love your suggestions!
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What's in your dust? How to prevent allergies in your home

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