What causes asthma & allergies
With a growing number of allergy and asthma cases in the UK, what is the cause? Asthma attacks are most commonly triggered by allergies to airborne particles or otherwise harmless stimuli found within our homes like mould spores, dust mites, fungal spores, mildew and dog and cat dander.
What causes asthma and allergies?
Your home may contain a variety of animal and plant life, most of which can be a source for the allergens that cause asthma. Symptoms of asthma, including wheezing or difficulty breathing, will occur in susceptible individuals as a result of these allergens and poor indoor air quality (IAQ). People can become sensitised and develop Asthma as a consequence of living in unhealthy environments.
Dust mites are microscopic arachnids that look like tiny spiders. They are about one third of a mm in length and are not visible to the naked eye. They are blind and live deep within carpeting, upholstery, and mattresses. Fortunately, dust mites do not bite, spread disease, or actually live on humans, however dust mites and their droppings are a key trigger in aggravating asthma symptoms. They may cause up to 80% of asthma attacks and countless cases of eczema. Other dust mite allergy symptoms include watering eyes, itching, sneezing and a runny nose.
Condensation and the black mould it creates, blights many UK homes. It can contribute towards high levels of asthma and allergies among householders as well as damaging the fabric of buildings. Warm air will hold more moisture than cold air and this warm moist air comes into contact with a cold surface the moisture in the air condenses and forms water droplets. Everyday activities such as bathing, cooking, showering and even breathing generate this moisture in the home which will eventually lead to mould growth. Black Mould will only grow in condensed water.
Indoor air quality
The link between indoor air pollution and its negative effects on human health has been a cause for concern in the UK for a number of years. As a result, improving indoor air quality (IAQ) has become a focus for the UK’s social housing landlords. A staggering 65% of homes in the UK suffer from poor IAQ. This is having a significant negative impact on the health of people in their homes with poor IAQ contributing towards high levels of asthma and a range of allergies. A minimum of 9,000 deaths every year can be attributed to poor indoor air quality in the UK with indoor levels of pollutants often 2-10 times higher than outdoor levels.
Animals and pets
Our household pets are also a trigger of allergies and asthma. Many people are allergic to a range of animals including; cats, dogs, horses, rabbits, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds and gerbils. An individual may develop pet allergies at any stage in their life, even if you have been in contact with an animal for years without developing allergies. The allergens which cause the allergic reaction are actually proteins found in the animal’s flakes of skin (‘dander’) and are harmless for most people. However, in people who are particularly sensitive to these proteins, touching or inhaling animal allergens will cause the immune system to overreact.