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Carpets – They Take All The Asthma Blame
Carpets have generally been the blamed culprit for individuals with allergies and asthma problems. Is this any reason to remove your carpet? Asthma is a serious lung disease that is common, with symptoms that include a tightness in the chest, breathlessness, wheezing, and lots of coughing. Carpets serve as a filter in trapping allergens, dust, mites, and dirt. However, that is the rub, because carpets hold onto them and their particles are not released into the air, where people inhale the air.
Asthma and Carpeting
Recent research has exonerated carpets as the cause of asthma or the tickler of asthma attacks. The trapped particles within carpet fibers do not irritate the lungs, unlike uncovered floors, whose particles float throughout the air. As we walk around our dwellings, stirring the air, or having our windows open, everything on the floor is blown up into the air we are breathing. Carpeting is holding onto these allergens until we clean them.
Should I Remove My Carpet
Should you remove your carpet if you have asthma? Many researchers and carpet manufacturers say no, but with a caveat. If you have an older carpet environment, especially if you have just moved into a home, then chances are that the fibers that normally hold onto allergens, may be too worn, allowing allergen particles to float around in the air. Normally, people with asthma would not have to remove their carpeting, as long as they keep it vacuumed and cleaned.
New Carpets and VOC
Another factor in asthma and carpeting is the installation of new carpets. Due to their manufacturing environment, new carpets contain certain chemical emissions. From the adhesives, odour, and padding, these VOC (volatile organic compounds) could possible trigger headaches and irritations that is unpleasant for people who have asthma already. VOC compounds do not cause asthma and the solution is to open doors and windows, to increase the air ventilation in the home.
Modern Carpet Care
It has been discovered that carpets actually emit low indoor allergens, even in natural and synthetic fibers. Modern carpet fibers are being designed to repel stains and soiling, with dirt and bacteria particles being held down to the ground and are not released into the air we breathe. Even with children and pets crawling and playing on carpets, its allergen particle release is far less than naked floors. To keep possible asthma allergens that are trapped by carpets, at low levels, it is suggested that you clean your carpets regularly. Carpets should be vacuumed at least once a week if your foot traffic is low and carpeting should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a year.
Many European carpet studies, as well as international infectious disease institutes concur, that children and adults with asthma are not harmed by having carpeting in their environment. Studies have shown that by removing carpeting from the floors of children, did not change their asthmatic circumstances. It has been suggested that people with asthma, should have carpeting on their floors. There are certain carpet fibers that actually help asthma victims, such as wool. In Melbourne, wool carpeting is perfect for asthma sufferers. Wool contains long, coarse fibers that can’t be inhaled and it provides an environment where dust mites and other particles can not live. Wool carpets contain permethrin, a natural compound that kills parasitic insects and protects against the chemical breakdown of stains and certain soil spots. Wool carpets keeps the air free of harmful pollutants and actually purifies the air for many years, if they are cleaned regularly.
Asthma and carpeting can remain a friendly environment, but there are other precautions that should be taken by asthma sufferers:
- reduce room temperature at night to prevent perspiration due to thick bedding
- for children who have asthma, freeze their soft toys, then wash them
- when asthma sufferers get up, air your bedding out by opening a window
- update old mattresses, pillows, and other bed furnishings.
For more info, go here: http://www.nationalasthma.org.au/