rich emollient used in the management of eczema, psoriasis and other dry skin conditions.


Is your house clean and safe? We all probably assume that it is but there could be some very dangerous things in your home… We insulate our houses and try to make them as air-tight and cosy as possible, especially in winter. Then we stuff them with plug-in air fresheners, fragrances, man-made furniture and fittings etc, which are all treated with fire retardant coatings and can contain glues, formaldehyde, paints and adhesives which all off-gas into your home.

You spray yourself with deodorants and perfumes and treat your clothes with fabric softeners and conditioners which make your wardrobe smell fresh for days.

You don’t want to be wearing a dust mask in your own home!

Dust mask for avoiding airborne allergens

Dust mask for avoiding airborne allergens

But this is anything but fresh. All these chemicals, fragrances and perfumes are not good for our bodies.

They are building up inside our homes because of the way we live, especially during winter when we keep all doors and windows closed. Small children and babies are most at risk from respiratory problems, asthma, allergies and worse. We just don’t know what the long term effects of living like this will be to our health.

Fling open your windows people – if only to replace some of the air for a short time in the morning during winter. Improving ventilation can also help with condensation and mould.

This article in the Daily Mail warns about Scented candles and air fresheners.

How your scented candle could KILL you: Perfume ‘can release dangerous cocktails of cancerous chemicals’

It was in the news last week that we should all be very mindful of the indoor air quality in our homes. Read this report by Allergy UK to find out the True impact of indoor air quality.

There are really simple things you can do and I don’t just mean clean your house more often and ditch the plug in air fresheners.

  1. Choose second-hand furniture in good condition which has probably done all its off-gassing already or buy solid wood furniture.
  2. Consider putting down solid wood flooring or natural tiled flooring instead of carpets which can harbour dust, allergens etc. and are harder to keep clean.
  3. Don’t be fooled into thinking Low or NO VOC paints are any better. They’re not. They simply off-gas very slowly over their lifetime instead of all up front after painting so steer well clear!
  4. Ventilate your house. Open bathroom windows to allow steam to escape and close when the room has cooled down and water evaporated. Open bedroom windows in the morning or have them open a chink all night to allow air to circulate.
  5. Dry laundry outside when you can and don’t use fabric softeners to fragrance clothes. They should smell clean but not have a heavy fragrance on them.
  6. Don’t use perfume, hair spray etc. and choose fragrance free products when you can. Think about what you put on your body and your hair – some of it will get absorbed through your skin into your body.
  7. Use the extractor when cooking to get rid of cooking smells
  8. Clean your house! Don’t think that plug in air fresheners mean your house is clean. Don’t mask a problem with another far worse one. If you house smells damp, of animal odours or just plain dirty it probably needs a good clean… or the root of the mould, damp etc. fixing properly.
  9. Use natural products to clean your home like vinegar, fresh lemon, soda crystals and baking soda or try to buy environmentally friendly, fragrance free cleaning products.
  10. Consider investing in an air purifier to help remove air borne pollutants and allergens. You can buy these from Allergy Best Buys or Amazon Bionaire Compact Air Purifier with Dual Positioning. You’ll find a List of approved air purifiers on the Allergy UK website.

Poor indoor air quality can lead to asthma and breathing problems so make sure you think about how you live at home. Is it really a safe haven where you rest, relax and avoid all the allergen triggers that plague you outside? Or are you exposing yourself and your family to many more nasty pollutants without even realising?



An allergy and health writer and freelance copywriter, Ruth is passionate about helping those with allergies and food intolerances take control, embrace their condition, and learn to live with and love who they are. It can be very lonely finding you have allergies and discovering what helps you can be a life long journey. What works for one person won't work for another, so after trying nearly every allergy treatment under the sun and finding hours of research necessary to keep abreast of what's going on, Ruth started writing her blog, What Allergy? in April 2009. Ruth has life threatening allergies herself to all nuts, all diary, tomatoes and celery and knows first-hand what it's like to have an anaphylactic attack. Voted in the Top 5 UK allergy blogs by Cision UK in 2011, What Allergy is packed full of interesting articles, hints and tips and product reviews which are a must read for anyone with allergies, food intolerances or sensitivities, asthma and eczema. From subjects such as "What is celery allergy?" to "Surviving a holiday abroad with allergies", it's packed with useful and interesting information. You can register free for a weekly newsletter by visiting her website and also keep in touch by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

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