shopping list for allergen avoidance

If you suffer with asthma or another allergy, there is a wide range of different products that you should consider using to effectively control your asthma symptoms. Whether it’s an air purifier, or just an alternative choice when stocking up for a spot of DIY, there’s likely to be something in the shops, or online, that’ll help you to create a healthier home. So we have put a shopping list for allergen avoidance together for you.

Paint. If you are sensitive to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), then you need to shop for paint with care. Water-based paint, used for walls, and oil-based paint, used more for woodwork, can both contain high concentrations of VOCs which will continue to outgas once the paint has dried. The DIY chain B&Q pioneered a ‘Globe’ symbol which all paints sold in its shops must carry. The 'Globe' range goes from ‘minimal’ (0-0.29% VOC) to ‘very high’ (50-100% VOC). There are also paint ranges specially formulated to have no VOC content, such as protein or resin-based paints.

Pet shampoo. Sad to say, but a cat or dog can be a living, breathing source of pet dander. If you are experiencing allergy symptoms, then a regular wash with allergy/asthma friendly pet shampoo is a useful part of your strategy to control allergens in your home. Animal dander is the name given to those microscopic flecks of skin, sweat and saliva containing allergen proteins which float around in the air. Keeping your pet’s coat clean with regular allergy friendly shampoo will help reduce pet dander in the air.

Detergent. House dust mite droppings contain a potent allergen which can linger indefinitely after the mites themselves have died. A wash in warm or cold water for sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers (remembering the bed is the main exposure area) with Allergen Wash Laundry Detergent effectively destroys the dust mite allergens. Allergen Wash is fantastic because it is effective with any water temperature - cold, warm or hot.

Environmentally friendly glue and other DIY products. Many adhesives, preservatives and cleaning products contain VOCs. Formaldehyde which is a potent irritant also linked to cancer is emitted from board-based wood products, foam-backed carpets and wood preservatives. Water-based DIY products are a safer choice. Solid wood and hard flooring (or hessian or felt-backed carpet) can be used instead of chipboard and foam-backed carpet. If there are products in your house that off-gas VOC's, think about purchasing a VOC air purifier.

Air purifiers. An air purifier plays an important role in allergy management, helping rid the air in your home of pet dander, mould spores, house dust mite allergens and indoor pollen grains. A HEPA filter can remove a wide range of particle sizes (for instance, the IQAir HyperHEPA will take out particles down to a size of 0.003 microns, which is 10 times smaller than a virus). To remove VOCs, which are in the molecular size range, the air purifier would need to be fitted with activated charcoal, or similar, filter.

Carpet cleaners. Steam cleaning your carpets - there are several methods - can be a very good way of cutting down on house dust mites and their allergens (see our blog post on steam cleaning your carpet). It is like putting your carpet in the washing machine! You could either do it yourself or get a professional in. One method, involving very hot ‘dry’ steam penetrating deep into the pile, is proven to kill dust mite and break down the allergen. Afterwards, you just vacuum them away.

Dust sprays. Getting rid of dust is the key to allergen avoidance. Damp dusting is more effective, of course than dry dusting. There are various products that contain substances that can attract allergens, or neutralise them, so you should use them on a regular basis if you have asthma. The ADS Anti-Allergen Dust Spray and the ADMS Anti-Allergen Dust Spray are highly recommended products for the allergy avoidance shopping list as the products are specially designed for people suffering with allergy or asthma.