Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Dust, Allergies, and Asthma
I suffer from mild summer allergies. My poor wife suffers from severe fall allergies and my kids have eczema. Fortunately, we don't have any food allergies or asthma. Have you considered the connection between dust control and asthma? Dust can worsen asthma, so it's important to consider ways to reduce your exposure to dust if you suffer from allergies or asthma.
Particulates in the air, (also known as particulate matter or PM) are what cause seasonal allergies. If we could just filter the air and make it absolutely clean, then we'd have no problems with seasonal allergies. I don't think the drug makers would be too happy with that. Particulate matter smaller than 10 micrometers (also known as PM10), can enter the lungs and cause health problems. I learned about various Dust Abatement strategies when I was taking an Environmental Health course for my master of public health (MPH) from the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health. Recently the EPA has issued guidelines for dust control, dust abatement and PM10 regulations. These changes make it a top priority for many local and state governing bodies to take control of dust pollution.
If you have asthma, do you employ a strategy for active Dust Control? Some people use an air filter. Others may try to minimize dust in the home by removing carpet and replacing the floors with tile, hardwood, or synthetic wood. You can also try using mattress and pillow covers, although the clinical evidence for such things are not very compelling. The most important thing is to avoid exposure to potential allergens. This includes dust. Image source: About.com