Symptoms begin almost immediately after exposure to an allergens. Symptoms last as long as they are exposed to the allergen; and If the allergen is present year-round, symptoms may be chronic. Recent investigations show that carpet cleaning reduces the amount of mite allergen in carpet by more than 90% with each cleaning. |
Allergists routinely recommend carpet removal due to allergy concerns based on an allergen avoidance theory. Allergists believe that if all possible places where allergen can be held are eliminated, allergic reactions will disappear. However, the removal of carpet has never produced a reduction in allergic reactions. The incidence of allergy sufferers that use carpet is about the same as for those who avoid carpet.
While carpet is typically mentioned in connection with allergies, pillow and mattress accumulations of these allergens pose a far greater exposure risk.
Regular Cleaning Greatly Reduces Allergens
Whether cleaning will reduce allergic reactions is dependent upon several factors. The first is the occupant's predisposition to react to allergens; second, are the allergens that the occupants will react to present in the living environment; and finally, are your cleaning services going to appropriately and thoroughly address the removal of those allergens?
You won't know whether your cleaning services will reduce allergic reactions if you don't know what the occupants will react to and whether or not those allergens are present in the environment you are going to clean. If you are going to provide carpet and upholstery cleaning services to a portion of the home, then you will probably remove only a limited amount of the allergens that are present. Even if you clean the entire carpeted area of a home and all of the upholstered furniture, you may still leave pockets, sometimes referred to as a sink or reservoir, of allergens that will potentially cause reactions.
The only way to ensure that cleaning will reduce allergic reactions is to: develop a continuous program of thorough cleaning of all locations where allergens may be present; create a plan to control infiltration of bioaerosols by managing the source; maintain HVAC systems and change filters regularly; control pests such as cockroaches and rodents; limit exposure to pets that occupants are allergic to; use cleaning products that are less likely to cause reactions; avoid secondhand smoke; and control moisture problems.
If performed correctly, carpet and upholstery cleaning can help reduce allergens. Since there are other sources of allergens, it is not likely that the reactions would be eliminated. Even if the reactions were reduced or eliminated, the relief would generally be temporary. A program of control and maintenance would be required to provide continued relief. There are companies that are starting to recognize that there is an opportunity to provide a greater range of services that can be designed to address asthma and allergy problems
In addition to regular cleaning, new treatments have become available which have been proven to be effective in eradicating dust mites. Some products containing benzyl benzoate have received mixed scientific reviews relating to their efficacy.
Carpet acts as a trap for airborne allergen. Once allergen becomes trapped within the pile of the carpet, it must be removed. Without carpet to act as a filter, allergen tends to remain airborne or may become airborne with each footstep. Studies reveal carpet is very effective in trapping this allergen without releasing it into the breathing zone. Carpet cleaning has proven to be very effective in extracting this allergen and removing it from the indoor environment. A good common sense approach for people with allergies is to install carpet and perform regular cleaning to remove the allergen.
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