Around 2.7 million Australians suffer from Asthma, and of those 4 out of 5 will also experience allergies, which means all that spring clean dust and pesky pollen in the air can be triggering for symptoms and flare ups.
Koh caught up with Adele Taylor from The National Asthma Council about their Sensitive Choice program, which focuses on helping people with asthma and allergies breathe a little easier, not just in spring, but all year round.
Read on for some tips to keep allergies and asthma at bay around the home, and how the Sensitive Choice blue butterfly is helping take the hard work out of choosing allergy friendly products.
What's the difference between asthma and allergies?
Asthma is a condition that affects the airways, and symptoms include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath, and allergies occur when a person’s immune system reacts to substances, known as allergens, that are usually harmless to most people.
Some of the common triggers you may find at home include house dust mites, pollen, mould, pet dander and chemicals.
What tips do you have for people with allergies and asthma to create a healthier home?
The first step is working out whether certain triggers affect you. While triggers are different for everyone, there are some common household sources, like dust mites, mould and certain chemicals.
Follow these tips so that your family can live and breathe easier at home this Spring:
- Wash sheets, pillowcases, and soft toys weekly in water hotter than 55°C.
- Use an electrostatic or damp cloth to dust hard surfaces, including floors. Avoid feather dusters and dry dusting cloths because they just stir up dust.
- Consider using a vacuum cleaner with an asthma and allergy sensitive HEPA filter.
- If you’re sensitive to chemicals in cleaning products, look out for options that have fewer harsh chemicals and no fragrances.
Also keep an eye on rooms like the laundry and bathroom which can have high indoor humidity levels – mould thrives in these conditions. Good ventilation can help tackle this, either by using an extractor fan or opening a door or window, to reduce the likelihood of mould or mildew growth.
Sensitive Choice helps identify allergy friendly products, can you tell us how products get approved by Sensitive Choice to carry the blue butterfly mark?
Before a product or service is approved by Sensitive Choice, it is rigorously reviewed by our independent expert panel, who considers whether the product is suitable to carry the blue butterfly.
The panel reviews evidence to determine that a product or service is not harmful and demonstrates a potential benefit for people with asthma and allergies, before making a recommendation.
Our expert Panel includes a variety of specialists such as an Environmental Chemist, Engineer, Allergist, GP, Pharmacist, Respiratory Specialists and more.
When customers see the Sensitive Choice logo, what does that mean about the product that holds it?
The National Asthma Council Australia created Sensitive Choice to empower people to identify household and building products and services that are asthma and allergy aware, through the trusted blue butterfly.
So, once you see the Sensitive Choice blue butterfly on a product, you know that it has been through our rigorous review processes and been proven to offer a potential benefit to someone with asthma or allergies. You also know we have done the hard work for you, so you can make an informed purchasing decision. You can find the blue butterfly on hundreds of products, from bedding to building products, cleaning agents to carpets, air purifiers to vacuum cleaners, and more.
What does the Sensitive Choice approval mean for people who don't suffer from allergies and asthma?
We tend to spend a lot of time at home, so anyone who is interested in breathing cleaner, fresher air might like to find about the ways to make their space healthier. Even if asthma and allergies don’t affect your household, you may know someone it does.
Sensitive Choice has an information hub with plenty of practical information and useful cleaning tips to help you create a healthier environment at home.
If you think you might have an allergy, speak with your doctor to identify what is causing the reaction and how you can manage this.
Visit Sensitive Choice to learn more.
Koh Universal Cleaner was formulated to help you breath easy. It's free from harsh chemicals, fumes and fragrances, and proudly carries the Sensitive Choice blue butterfly logo.