Signs you have Asthma

Signs you have Asthma

Asthma symptoms can vary from person to person but what are the signs you have asthma? You may not experience asthma attacks often, or maybe your symptoms flare up at certain times or you may have symptoms all the time.

Asthma signs and symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a cold or the flu

Signs that your asthma is probably worsening include:

  • Asthma signs and symptoms that are more frequent
  • Increasing difficulty breathing
  • The need to use a quick-relief inhaler more often

For some people, asthma signs and symptoms flare up in certain situations:

  • Exercise-induced asthma, which may be worse when the air is cold and dry
  • Occupational asthma, triggered by workplace irritants such as chemical fumes, gases or dust
  • Allergy-induced asthma, triggered by airborne substances, such as pollen, mould spores or pet allergy caused by pets dander 1.

When is it time to talk to my doctor?

  • Do you think you have asthma? If you have frequent coughing or wheezing or any other signs or symptoms we have covered make an appointment to see your doctor.
  • To monitor your asthma. If you know you have asthma, work with your doctor to keep it under control. Long-term control can help prevent a life-threatening asthma attack in the future.
  • If your asthma symptoms get worse. Contact your doctor right away if your symptoms have started to get worse and your normal medication isn’t helping you. Do not under any circumstances try to solve the problem by taking more medication without consulting your doctor. This can cause side effects and may make your asthma worse.
  • To review your treatment. Asthma can change over time, it’s important to touch base with your doctor to discuss your progress and current treatment options.

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Allergies During the Holiday Season

Allergies During the Holiday Season

Mould & Mildew

Mildew and mould spores float in the air like pollen and your exposure to it may increase during the holidays because they love damp evergreens like the wreaths, boughs and trees we bring inside this time of year.

How to control Mould Allergies:

A 2011 study performed by staff at the SUNY Upstate Medical University and published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology found that a Christmas tree could increase the number of mould spores in an apartment by about 6 and a half times1!

Christmas trees and wreaths carry mould spores. If mould affects you, you may consider making the switch to artificial decorations. If you simply can’t do without your Christmas tree then there are other ways to keep mould to a minimum. Hose plants down before bringing them inside to get rid of existing spores.

Artificial decorations can indeed reduce allergy but they too can become damp or grow mould. Ensure your artificial decorations are stored in dry containers and have been packaged correctly. 

Air purifiers, dehumidifiers and sprays that target mould can make a difference in tackling the spores that cause your allergic reaction.

Dust mites

These tiny allergens can be even more aggravating around the holidays when the air gets damp and we spend time in hotel rooms or staying with friends and relatives.

How to control Dustmite Allergies:

Keep symptoms in check at home by changing air filters frequently, washing your bedding in hot water at 60 degrees weekly and by buying allergy-resistant encasement covers for pillows and mattress. Dust mites thrive in humidity, so a good way to keep indoor humidity between 30% and 50% is to invest in a dehumidifier.

During the holiday season, you often find yourself staying with friends, relatives and in hotels. When travelling it’s a good idea to bring your own pillow with an anti-allergy protective cover. When staying in a hotel you can request a down-free pillow or even bring your own pillow encasements to keep allergic reactions to a minimum.

Food

The Holiday Season means lots of dining away from home, plenty of seasonal foods and lots of parties! All of which make it likely you’ll accidentally eat foods you’re allergic to.

Ways to control Food Allergies:

The first and best treatment for food allergies is to avoid what you’re allergic to. At seasonal gatherings with friends and family communication is key. Tell them about your food allergies, ask about ingredients in meals and desserts, discuss alternatives with them and ask for their help so you can avoid the foods you’re allergic to, the last thing your family or friends want is to make you unwell around the holiday season.

Pets

Symptoms of pet allergies can worsen around the holidays. Pets are indoors more, both at your house and in the homes of friends and family2.

Ways to control Pet Allergies:

To reduce the likelihood of a reaction for yourself or your visitors this holiday season there are a few things you can do. Firstly minimize your contact with pets and keep them strictly out of the bedrooms to reduce the amount of allergen in the room. Make sure to bathe your pets weekly, if possible, to wash away dander and other allergens from their fur. Change your clothes, bathe and wash your hair after playing with your pet and before going to bed[3]. Wash your hands and face frequently and keep your floors swept, and carpets vacuumed.

Air purifiers and sprays that target allergies to pets can make a difference in tackling the protein in the dander that causes your allergic reaction.

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How To Buy The Best Electric Heater For Your Home

How To Buy The Best Electric Heater For Your Home

The nights are on the turn and if you’re fed up with feeling cold indoors, then a heater could be the ideal solution. But with so much choice available what room heater is best for your home?

Whether you’re to keep your bedroom or conservatory cosy, or trying to warm up the office, we will take you through all the variety of heaters we have on offer that will take you from chilly to cosy1.

What kind of room heater should you use?

Convector heater

This type of heater is useful to heat up a whole room for a few hours or more. They work by warming the air next to the heater which will then circulate around the room. They are a good choice for those who need an additionally heating source to keep a room warm for a few hours. You can get a variety of convector heaters from electric, gas to oil filled radiators. They can also come with thermostats and timers so you can choose how long to keep the heat on and set an ideal temperature so you don’t get too warm.

Radiant & Fan Heaters

To quickly heat a room radiant and fan heaters are the best option. These heaters work fast and ideally work best to heat up a room in a short period. Often they don’t have thermostats or timers which can make this a more expensive option over time. Halogen heaters, electric bar fires, open gas fires and bottled gas fires are forms of radiant heaters2.

Portable Heaters Explained

Portable fan heaters

Ideal for heating a room up quickly. They’re usually lightweight and portable and easy to set up.

Convector portable heaters

This type of heater will heat up quickly, they are usually tall, thin and light so can be moved from room to room with ease.

Oil-filled portable heater

These heaters can be heavy and slow to heat up but they are cheap to run. They can be on the larger side and can be hard to move but look out for models that have wheels that will help them be more portable 3.

Where do I put my heater to get the most out of it?

This all depends on the model of heater you have. Fan heaters need an inflow of air in order to heat it up if the vents are on the back avoid placing it against a wall instead turn the vent outwards towards the room. For an oil heater, you place it in the middle of the room until the room has heated up. Convector heaters can be used anywhere in a room.

Discover our range of heaters for your home here.

 

 

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Air Purifier Buying Guide

Air Purifier Buying Guide

Air purifiers improve the quality of the air that we breathe, by reducing harmful airborne particles and allergens. There is a wide variety to choose from but which is the best air purifier for you and your home?

Air purifiers work to keep the air inside your home clean by removing particles such as dust, pollen and mould spores. Dehumidifiers and humidifiers control the moisture in your home helping to stall the growth of mould. Air purifiers sometimes referred to as air cleaners, also work to keep your home’s climate healthy by removing polluting particles like dust and pollen. Often packaged as portable units and fans, here’s how these cleaning machines help you breathe easier.

What does an air purifier do?

Air purifiers remove pollutants from the air such as;

Particulate pollutants e.g.)

  • Mould spores
  • Dust mites
  • Bacteria
  • Animal dander
  • Viruses

Gaseous pollutants e.g.)

  • Paint
  • Varnishes
  • Adhesives
  • Pesticides

Air purifiers filter these contaminants out of the air playing a helpful role to anyone sensitive to allergies or with asthma2.

How do air purifiers work?

There are four different types of air purifiers, and they all have the same purpose – to improve that standard of air that we breathe.

Air Ioniser

Air ionisers produce steam, consisting of negatively charged ions, which will cling to the positively charged ions in the air (airborne allergen particles and dust).  When these particles join, they become heavy and sink to the floor.

HEPA Air Filter

HEPA is an acronym of High Efficient Particulate Air. To qualify as true HEPA, an air filter must remove 99.97% of all particles greater than 0.3 micrometres from the air that passes through. (Particles smaller than 0.3 microns are still trapped by HEPA filters but effectiveness is reduced to less than 99.97%.)

Most purifiers contain a HEPA filter (Highly Efficient Particular Air).  These filters remove 99.97% of pollutants in the air. These filters are extremely useful for removing dirt, allergens, dust and mould particles, but do very little for removing bad odours or smoke.

Air sterilisation

Air sterilisation purifiers use technology to silently and effectively pull contaminated air in, by air convection. Contaminated air, such as pollen, pet allergens, viruses, fungi, mould, dust mites, odours and bacteria are all pulled in.

Once inside, air flow carries micro-organisms into the exclusive TSS sterilising chambers. Inside these chambers, temperatures reach 400°F, incinerating all micro-organisms. Sterilised air is then cooled and returned to the room.

Which model should I choose?

This depends on:

  • The size of the room
  • The level of air purification and cleanliness you want
  • Your budget
  • How much space you have? – Some models can sit on a shelf.
  • How much the unit weighs? – Important if moving it from room to room.
  • Is it the correct size for the room – different size models clean different volumes of air?
  • The number of times an hour the air is cleaned.
  • Other features you need such as remote control and speed settings.

Some air purifiers make a low whirring noise, which you might want to take into account if you’re a light sleeper. Air purifiers featuring HEPA filters are more expensive but are more effective than other filters at removing harmful bacteria and pollen that can affect allergy and asthma sufferer.

Where is the best place to put my air purifier?

It is best to keep an air purifier in the centre of a room. When this isn’t suitable you can also place it in an area which is the source of the irritant, e.g. where your pet might settle, or where someone smokes.

It is best to not place the purifier against a wall, as it may hinder its ability to intake air efficiently.

What Benefits will I get from having an air purifier?

Air purifiers create a cleaner environment in your home for you and your family. They remove smoke, dust particles and pollen from your home. Mould spores, pet dander and dust mite droppings are captured and pulled away from the clean air. As a result, air quality in the home will be greatly improved.

Should the purifier be switched on continuously?

To be as effective as possible, all air purifiers should be switched on all the time, as air pollution will return when it is switched off.

Check out the range of Air Purifiers we have at Slumber Slumber here.

Anti-Allergy Bedding Buying Guide

Anti-Allergy Bedding Buying Guide

Why do I need Anti-Allergy bedding?

Your bed could be home to over 10 million dust mites; potent triggers of conditions such as asthma, eczema and other respiratory conditions. These unwelcome guests can bring on allergy symptoms making for a very unpleasant, and often disturbed, night’s sleep. Household insecticides have no effect on dust mites, your best course of action is to make your bed inhospitable to them. You can do this by purchasing anti-allergy bedding, or by encasing your existing bedding in specialist anti-allergy encasements. You could also consider purchasing an anti-allergy mattress.

What am I allergic to?

Although we use the term “dust mite allergy”, the mite itself is not what you are allergic to. Instead it is the faeces that the dust mite leaves behind. Their faeces contain proteins which can produce negative reactions in people, including sneezing, coughing, itching, wheezing and streaming eyes. Dust mites do not bite, cannot spread diseases, and do not live on people. They are only harmful to those who develop an allergy to them. Dustmites are microscopic in size so it is easy to assume your bed is mite-free.

What’s the difference between non-allergenic, hypoallergenic and anti-allergy?

  • Non-allergenic means that the item itself shouldn’t cause an allergic reaction, but triggers such as dust mites may still be present.
  • Hypoallergenic means that there is a decreased chance of allergic reaction
  • Anti-allergy means the item is intended to prevent or minimise an allergic reaction.

Do I need new bedding?

To fight dust mites, your best option is to replace your bedding with specialist anti-allergy bedding. Anti-allergy bedding can either contain an active ingredient to denature dust mites, or have a special casing that dust mites cannot penetrate. If your existing bedding isn’t anti-allergy and you’re reluctant to replace it, you can improve its allergy protection by using anti-allergy encasements. These encasements fit over your existing pillow, duvet and mattress and trap allergens inside.

What do I need to make my bed allergy friendly?

It’s important to make your whole bed an allergy-friendly haven. This may involve replacing your pillows, duvet, sheets and mattress or purchasing specialist encasements to improve the anti-allergy effectiveness of your existing bedding.

Pillows & Duvets for allergy sufferers

Anti-allergy pillows and duvets can be split into two groups, those that contain an active ingredient to denature dust mites and those made with a casing impenetrable to dust mites. Both options will offer a good level of protection and will stop the growth of dust mites in your pillow and duvet. Furthermore, some pillow and duvet fillings, such as wool and silk, are naturally resistant to dust mites. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to keep your existing pillow and duvet, you can purchase anti-allergy encasements; these will fully encase your pillow and duvet trapping allergens inside.

Bed Linen for allergy sufferers

When purchasing bed sheets it’s best to choose something that offers specialist anti-allergy protection, these sheets will contain an active ingredient to denature dust mites or will be made from something naturally resistant to dust mites such as silk. Alternatively choose sheets that can be washed regularly at 60oC, this is the temperature needed to kill dust mites, or use a laundry additive such as Fabri-Cleanse to remove allergens at lower temperatures.

Mattress Protection for allergy sufferers

You can protect yourself from the allergens in your mattress by using an anti-allergy mattress protector or mattress encasement. An anti-allergy mattress protector will contain an anti-allergy agent to protect you from dust mites in the top layer of your mattress. For better protection an anti-allergy mattress encasement will fully encase your mattress, stopping allergens from exiting or entering any part of your mattress. The majority of mattress encasements are made from a fabric impenetrable to dust mites and other allergens. Anti-Allergy Pillow Protectors and Pillow Encasements are also available.

Mattresses for allergy sufferers

Brands including Sealy and Healthbeds have started to produce hypo-allergenic mattresses. Similarly to anti-allergy bedding, your new mattress will have been treated with an agent to denature dust mites. If you’re considering purchasing a new mattress, choosing an anti-allergy option will stop the growth of dust mites in the first place.

Can Anti-Allergy bedding make my bed more eczema friendly?

When choosing bedding for eczema sufferers, it is very important that it is highly breathable bedding. Bedding that creates a cleaner, drier and smoother environment, will ease irritation on your skin, creating a better night’s sleep. For example our DermaTherapy bedding is made from a tightly woven fabric which creates a smoother layer that will pull less and cause less friction on skin. It is also highly breathable and will draw moisture from the skin.

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