Do you get up in the morning feeling bone-tired, congested, headachy, coughing, with a post-nasal drip? Sometimes dark under the eyes? Even nauseous? This time of year people are quick to say their symptoms has something to do with the seasonal changes. For some people that is true, but more often than not, we are dealing with a different enemy. A vast army made up of tiny living things: Dust-mites and mould.
Mould is made up of a vast amount of various strains of fungi. The fungi grow in dark and humid parts of the house, outbuildings and garden. The shower ceiling, bathroom tile grout, behind headboards of beds, in bathroom and sink cupboards and cabinets, and various other dark and dingy corners. The spores from these fungi are produced in massive volumes and are air-borne. We breathe it in without even realising it.
Dust-mites are no better. These tiny creatures are related to ticks and spiders. They live off the dead skin flakes of humans and animals. They also reproduce at an astronomical rate. The real problem with dust-mites is their faeces. Humans are very often allergic to dust-mite pooh. Dust-mites are happy and comfy living in mattresses, pillows, duvet inners, carpets, curtains, couches and soft toys. They even live in the tidiest, neatest, cleanest house. The problem is that we do not often clean the spaces where they live. They can make us really sick, in fact, the latest research says they can even effect unborn babies! The dust-mite pooh are breathed in and reaches the mother’s bloodstream through the lungs. From there it is transported to the unborn baby and raises the risk that that baby will suffer from asthma and other serious allergenic responses.
Often people find themselves on chronic anti-histamine and other medicine. It is not good for us, especially if it becomes so bad that you have to take a cortisone-based spray, syrup or tablet. The side effects of chronic anti-histamine is undesirable, like drowsiness in the morning when clarity and focus are needed.
There are chemical mould and dust-mite sprays available, but let’s look at a gentler, natural approach. Firstly, regularly wash bedding. Sunlight is very good to get rid of mould and dust-mites, as it is sanitising, and the organisms dry out and die. Put your duvet inner and pillows spread out over the washing lines or on the lawn and give it at least 1 hour of hot sun on each side every 6 weeks. If you live in a flat or you don’t have the space or sun for that, put it in the chest freezer for at least an hour.
Vacuum clean mattresses, pillows and carpets. Mattresses must be vacuumed at least once every six months. You will be astounded by how much better you will sleep and how refreshed you will feel in the morning!
You can make a DIY mould and mite spray: 2 cups water. 2 cups white vinegar, 2 teaspoons tea tree essential oil together in a spray bottle. Shake and spray with a fine mist at least every six weeks. Spray curtains, carpets, soft toys, upholstery, mattresses, bathroom ceilings, shower walls and glass panels, bathroom tiles, kitchen tiles, kitchen surfaces. Spray everything that you can think of, except wood. It works especially well in caravans, tents, sleeping bags, and holiday cottages that are closed up and un-used for large parts of the year.
If you do not want to go the DIY route, pharmacies normally stock sprays. There is a lovely natural spray made of coconut protein, and Dis-chem also stocks a variety of dust-mite and mould sprays.
So before you reach for pills, see how you can improve your quality of life, by declaring war on these tiny little enemies.