Why do cleaning products make allergic rhinitis worse?
When the body comes into contact with an allergen like pollen or mould, the immune system releases histamine in an attempt to flush these things out. This increases blood flow to the areas affected by the allergen and so, as a result, inflammation often becomes problematic around the eyes, on the skin and in the nasal passages.
Normally the skin would act as a barrier to keep out harmful chemicals however, when inflamed it becomes less effective at this task. This means the skin is more likely to soak up harmful toxins (like those in cleaning products) and it becomes more sensitive as well. This explains why the particles in cleaning products can aggravate the already troublesome symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Get the gear!
First things first, before you go dusting lamps or unclogging the toilet, make sure you’re wearing gear that will minimise the effects of your activities on any allergic rhinitis symptoms.
Clothes that cover your arms and legs will prevent any allergens from landing on exposed skin and therefore irritating the area. Also, gloves, a mask and, if your eyes are particularly troublesome, goggles will all help to reduce your contact with allergens whilst cleaning. You may worry about looking a little ridiculous, but if it stops your nose from running or your skin from itching it’s worth putting up with a little mockery from the friends and family that share your home!
Common allergens such as animal dander, mould spores, dust mites and pollen gather in fabrics like carpets, rugs, cushions and curtains so, if possible, it’s best to avoid having these things in your home. A set of blinds for example, can be wiped much more easily that a set of heavy curtains. However, I understand that this isn’t always feasible so as an alternative, here’s a few cleaning tips.
Vacuuming a couple of times a week (if you can find the time) should remove allergens to prevent them from building up on fabrics around the home. However, make sure you empty the vacuum afterwards to prevent allergens from lingering!
Wash at a high temperature
Regularly cleaning cushions, soft toys and curtains at a high temperature gets rid of dust mites and animal dander that may be lurking there, unbeknown to you.
Dealing with Bedding
We spend a lot of time in our beds and so, as a result, cleaning the area effectively should help to reduce allergic rhinitis symptoms at night.
Use allergy-proof bedding
If you are allergic to dust mites, it’s useful to have allergy-proof bedding to prevent these little creatures from irritating you as you sleep.
Wash bedding regularly
Pollen can transfer easily from your hair to your pillow and dust mites just the love warm, humid conditions that are provided by a duvet or mattress. Therefore, if you’re suffering from allergic rhinitis I’d advise you to wash your bedding at least once a week to get rid of the allergens that can build up there.
For this, I’d recommend a detergent that’s free from harsh colourings and preservatives that have the potential to worsen rashes, redness and itching.
Watch where you dry washing
Where you should hang your washing out to dry depends on what triggers your allergic rhinitis in the first place. If pollen causes you trouble, for example, don’t leave clothing to dry on the washing line outside as here it will collect pollen. Therefore, when you put the clothing on later on, your symptoms may suddenly worsen.
Contrastingly, if mould spores cause allergic rhinitis symptoms, it’s best not to dry clothes indoors as this can contribute to the development of mould.
As we submerge our hands in soapy, chemical-rich water it can make the skin problems associated with allergic rhinitis much more uncomfortable. Itching, rashes and redness can all become more problematic so here’s how to avoid this.
Use a washing up liquid for sensitive skin
When doing the dishes choose cleaning products that are free from perfumes, irritating additives, colourings and toxins.
Don’t forget those rubber gloves!
I mentioned this already but as a reminder, keep the rubber gloves on when doing the dishes to prevent any the soapy water from irritating your skin.
Cleaning surfaces often disrupts allergens and so allergic rhinitis symptoms such as sneezing and watery eyes might suddenly worsen. However, once again there are a few simple steps you can take to reduce the effects of this activity on your condition.
Avoid feather dusters
Do not rely on feather dusters when cleaning surfaces as these just push dust around and so do not remove it completely. As an alternative, you can use a damp cloth as this picks up dust much more effectively.
Choose your cleaning product wisely
The increased sensitivity of your skin during a flare up of allergic rhinitis means that even your favoured brand of cleaning product, which is usually safe for you to use, can cause problems. This is because the likes of surface sprays tend to contain a lot of harsh chemicals which, as mentioned, will only make allergic rhinitis symptoms more severe. Therefore, to clean your kitchen worktop or to wipe the coffee table, I’d recommend you choose a surface spray that will be kinder to your body.
Sodasan has a few good options. Unlike many other cleaning products, their products don't contain perfume. This means they are less likely to worsen the key symptoms of allergic rhinitis such as a runny nose, sneezing or itching. They also use no preservatives or detergents and are instead made from only pure alcohol and specially processed water. This means that not only is it eco-friendly, but it's also allergic rhinitis friendly too!
Sorting out the bathroom
Bathroom cleaners can be particularly bad in terms of the toxins and perfumes they contain so again, be careful what you choose to wipe the loo!
Again, Sodasan is a good brain to try. Their toilet cleaner gets rid of tough stains and dirt without containing any nasty preservatives. It also contains a subtle, natural fragrance that is unlikely to irritate your allergic rhinitis symptoms but will still leave your bathroom smelling fresh.
Other cleaning tips
From washing clothes to doing the dishes, so far I’ve offered various cleaning tips for allergic rhinitis sufferers. However, here are a few other things to remember as well!
Avoid air fresheners
Unsurprisingly, the strong chemicals that are used to give air fresheners their distinctive smell can, once again, make the symptoms of allergic rhinitis more severe. So, because of this avoid spraying your house with air fresheners whilst cleaning. This goes for air fresheners in your car too!
Ask friends and family not to dust or vacuum before you arrive
Vacuuming tends to stir up dust so your symptoms may become more problematic than, surprisingly, if no vacuuming or dusting had been done at all. Therefore, if you can, ask your friends and family to avoid doing this before you arrive.
Cleaning can stir up allergens that then land on skin and hair so have the potential to cause irritation. Therefore, when finished cleaning for the day it can be helpful to shower in order to wash these allergens away and prevent any further problems. Plus, it will provide you with some relaxation after all the washing and wiping!
Need more help?
From Moisturising Eye Drops to Sinuforce Nasal Spray, here at A.Vogel we have a range of herbal remedies that can be used to address the various symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
The eye drops help to soothe dry, irritated eyes for example, whilst the nasal spray provides relief from congestion.
You may also wish to try our Pollinosan Hayfever Tablets which are made from seven tropical herbs to provide relief from problems such as sneezing and watery eyes.
These tablets are also non-drowsy and can be used alongside other allergic rhinitis treatments too.