I was sent this interesting information yesterday from Honeywell who produce heating control. They have teamed up with Allergy UK who are the UK’s leading charity dedicated to helping allergy sufferers to reveal that the temperature of our homes has a direct effect on allergens. Myself and two of the boys are asthma sufferers and I know that certain allergens can trigger our asthma. This is the time of year when I start taking measures to ensure we don’t start suffering too much over the autumn and winter. Like most I turn up the heating but it’s not always the best thing to do. This information has prompted me again about the conditions allergens live in and I wanted to share it with you.
More than 10 million¹ people in the UK don’t realise that when they go to bed, they are tucked up cosily with more than just their duvets!
We are, in fact, sharing our bedrooms with house dust mites, which trigger an allergic reaction for around seven million allergy sufferers in Britain².
This shocking statistic has come from Allergy UK the leading national charity dedicated to supporting the country’s allergy sufferers; and Honeywell, a leading supplier of domestic heating and combustion controls in the UK, who are working to educate Brits on the importance of controlling the temperature of our homes properly – and the ability to set different temperatures to suit the different rooms of our houses – to help alleviate indoor allergens.
What people don’t realise is that the temperature at which they keep their homes has a direct impact on the allergens which breed within them. Keeping homes too hot or too cold can actually encourage the onset of the house dust mite and mould, both of which cause allergic reactions.
Honeywell research reveals that 52% of homeowners keep their bedroom as the hottest room in the house3 so they can bear getting out of bed in the morning, with more than a third heating it to 22 degrees4 or higher. As house dust mites thrive in temperatures of 21 degrees and above5 Brits may be sharing their beds with a lot more than their sheets and pillows! What’s more, these bugs can remain airbourne for long periods of time, spreading throughout the house and settling on surfaces.
Lindsey McManus, deputy CEO of Allergy UK explains: “Controlling the temperature of your home is a really important part of a proper allergy management programme – and one which is regularly overlooked by many homeowners. Around 12 million people in the UK are actually allergic to their own homes and don’t realise that something as simple as controlling the temperature of your home can go a long way towards helping reduce the onset and effects of these issues. Frequently having the temperature too high can encourage house dust mites to breed, or too low can encourage mould to develop – both of which can trigger respiratory and allergy problems and can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, coughing and phlegm build-up, wheezing and shortness of breath – all symptoms of an allergic reaction.”
A big reason people heat their bedrooms to such greenhouse temperatures is because 45% aren’t aware they can have heating controls which allow them to choose the right temperature for the right room, at the right times of day6.
Honeywell’s Nick Hunt explains: “Honeywell is encouraging UK households to ensure they have the right heating controls installed so they can regulate the temperature of their homes properly. Fitting a modern, wireless room thermostat – which is an Allergy UK approved ‘Allergy Friendly’ product – and controlling your temperature is a simple and easy task, yet millions of households in the UK are missing out on the many advantages modern heating controls can provide. Today’s advanced heating controls also allow homeowners to set the temperature in different ‘zones’ of their house. We simply recommend that homeowners talk to a professional heating engineer for more advice on the best controls to suit them.
Hunt added. “After all, we wouldn’t control every light in our house from one switch, so why should we do the same for temperature?”
More than 8 million homes in the UK7 don’t have any form of room thermostat fitted and 20%8 leave the heating on constantly; while many remain unaware of the Government’s recommended average household temperature of 19°c.
While homeowners remain oblivious to these facts, our incidents of allergies are on the up, with the UK being one of the top three countries in the world for ever-increasing levels of allergy sufferers and each year the number increases by 5%9.
¹Allergy Free Living, Prof Peter Howarth, Mitchell Beesley, 2000.
²Allergy UK Home Fever Survey 2011 (58% of twelve million).
³Honeywell Consumer research – UK, 2011
Honeywell Consumer research – UK, 2011.
5Allergy & Asthma Relief – Readers Digest Association Ltd 2006; Authors: Chris Corrigan, William Berger, Sheena Merydith, Maureen Jenkins, Pamela Mason
6 TACMA Research 2011
8 Honeywell consumer research 2011
9 www.allergyuk.org – The Allergenic Invasion, 1999
(Information taken from press release)
Together Honeywell and Allergy UK have launched Healthy Homes Campaign to help raise awareness