Forecast high pollen levels in the air this spring in some states could leave up to seven million Australians who suffer from allergy (including hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and conjunctivitis) struggling with sneezing, watery eyes, a running nose and an itchy throat.
With the first week of spring marking National Asthma Week (September 1 – 7), the National Asthma Council Australia says that the Week is a timely reminder for people with asthma or allergies to take extra care.
Pollens from grasses, weeds or trees can trigger allergies like asthma and hay fever, causing a variety of symptoms to flare up.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, this past autumn was wetter than normal and this winter has seen drier-than-average conditions. That makes the coming pollen season a mixed bag across Australia. An El Nino forecast for 2015-2016 could shorten the pollen season in some parts of Australia but elsewhere allergy sufferers may be in for a tough few months ahead.
According to Associate Professor Ed Newbigin from the University or Melbourne and coordinator of the Melbourne pollen count, the start of the hay fever season varies according to location and from one year to another.
“Typically European trees like birch and elm pollinate at the end of winter and beginning of spring and grasses start pollinating a month or two later. But with climate change causing milder winters in southern Australia and wet season changes in the north we expect to see differences in when plants flower as well as where plants grow.
“This year we are expecting bad hay fever seasons for Canberra and Sydney but allergy sufferers in Melbourne should have an easier time of it.”
As well as affecting the length and duration of the pollen season, climate change has the potential to impact people with asthma and allergies by causing more extreme weather events like thunderstorms.
Thunderstorms can trigger asthma flare-ups as stormy winds and moisture can cause the pollen to rupture into smaller particles, which can be inhaled deeper into the lungs. The situation is exacerbated when grass pollen levels are high just before a thunderstorm.
National Asthma Council Australia Spokesperson, Associate Professor Sheryl van Nunen, from the Department of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, said that the best way to manage an allergy is to avoid triggers.
“The best way to treat allergy and asthma is to prevent it occurring. Have your lungs checked by your GP to make sure you’re as healthy as possible, and let them know if you think pollen, thunderstorms or weather changes affect your asthma.
“Use your preventer medication every day, if prescribed, even when you are feeling well, and ensure you have an up-to-date written asthma action plan from your GP so you know what to do if your asthma flares up.
“Apart from the misery caused, be aware that the worse your hay fever is, the worse your asthma will be and the more likely you are to need hospitalisation for asthma.
“Moreover, house dust mite is more prevalent at the change of seasons and many people spring clean, so the 74% of Australian hay fever sufferers who are house dust mite allergic will have their house dust mite allergy aggravated then too.”
Melbourne and Canberra now have their own pollen monitoring services operating from 1st October – to 31st December (melbournepollen.com.au andcanberrapollen.com.au), while Sydney pollen monitoring starts on 1st September 2015 (sydneypollen.com.au). Other Australian cities are set to have a similar service established soon.
Allergen avoidance doesn’t cure asthma, but by reducing your exposure to allergen triggers you may improve your asthma control and help make symptoms easier to manage.
Top tips to reduce pollen exposure from National Asthma Council Australia
Media release from; National Asthma Council Australia, All rights reserved.
Who are you getting to service and clean YOUR air conditioners? Professionals like HydroKleen Australia or untrained ‘backyarders’?
Of course you could always try to do it yourself! 🙂
Cleaning your air conditioning unit may sound like an unnecessary and difficult task. After all, as long as it can keep your house cool, why bother, right? Wrong! Regular cleaning of your air conditioning unit brings about a lot of monetary and health benefits for you and your family.
Cleaning your air conditioner allows it to perform more efficiently by reducing the stress and pressure, that dust and debris build-up usually put on your unit. When air filters get clogged and become dirty, the normal flow of air is impeded thus making your unit work harder than it should. In addition, when dust covers your evaporator coil, its ability to absorb heat is impaired, which further reduces efficiency and ability to cool your home.
In a normal household, cooling systems comprise a significantly large portion of your monthly electrical consumption. On the same note, a dirty air conditioning unit consumes more power mainly because your unit is forced to work harder raising its operating costs. In general, such air conditioners use anywhere between five to ten percent more electricity. By cleaning your AC unit, you reduce your unit’s need to work harder and thus shave some dollars off of your electricity bill.
Leaving air conditioners running in a dirty state will eventually lead to bigger problems and complete failure. As your air conditioner unit gathers more dust and dirt, it will become more difficult to clean. In addition, your unit is prone to overheating as the evaporator coils are unable to dissipate heat effectively. Furthermore, your unit is prone to developing ice build ups. These problems can be avoided by having your unit regularly cleaned by a professional air conditioning cleaning company such as HydroKleen Australia.
Additionally, in the process of cleaning your unit, an expert can detect potential problems that your unit may encounter in the future. Thus, prevent more expensive repairs, or worse, having to replace your whole air conditioning unit. It is true that it will cost you to hire expert services; however, this is far cheaper when you compute the costs of future repairs and replacement.
Your air conditioning unit does more than just cool your home; they also play an important role in helping keep the air circulating inside your home clean and healthy. A dirty unit provides a suitable breeding ground for mould, fungi, bacteria and germs to thrive. In effect, whenever you turn on your unit, these particles get blown into the room and contaminate the air, exposing you and your family to a variety of respiratory infection and trigger asthma attacks.
Keeping your air conditioning unit properly maintained and regularly cleaned provides a lot of benefits. Those listed above are just some of the main reasons why you should consider having a professional air conditioning company such as HydroKleen take a look and clean your air conditioning unit every twelve months.
Electricity bills take a huge portion of every Australian households’ income. As a result, this has urged many people to look at different methods to cut their energy costs down. There are myriad of ways to achieve this, starting with the major power consumers in your home.
Switch to Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
Amongst all the types of light bulbs, incandescent bulbs are the most less-efficient. Incandescent bulbs generate more heat than light and consume large amounts of energy in the process. Changing incandescent light bulbs into more energy-efficient LED bulbs, will significantly reduce the amount of electricity consumed by your lighting systems, which accounts for more or less 18% of your electric bills. In addition, LED light bulbs last longer than incandescent, which is more cost-effective, in the long run.
Buy and Use Energy Efficient Appliances
Thanks to advances in technology, manufacturers are now able to design and develop appliances that are not only more contemporary, but also energy-efficient. From LED TVs to smart-cooling refrigerators, there is a wide range of energy-efficient appliances that you can choose. Yes, they may cost more upfront, but you will be thankful to have shed those extra dollars as you see your electricity consumption go down. New energy-efficient appliances consume at least 20% or 30% less electricity than your normal appliances.
Clean and Maintain Your Air Conditioners
Air conditioners are a necessity, especially in a country like Australia. That being said, a house or an establishments’ cooling system contributes to almost half of their electricity bills. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce costs without you having to suffer in the sweltering heat.
If an air conditioning unit is under direct sunlight, you may want to consider planting tall trees around the unit, however, not too close though as this will hinder the air flow. Or better yet place an awning over them.
Another way is by having your air conditioning units regularly cleaned and maintained. Cleaning improves the unit’s efficiency and keeps it from using more power than it has to.
Have a professional air conditioner cleaning and maintenance company check your unit’s filters, refrigerants, and other components to ensure they are in good working condition. In addition, if the system is more than ten years old, it is worth considering having it replaced with a newer and more energy-efficient model.
Eliminate Energy Vampires
Energy vampires are those electrical appliances that consume power and electricity even when they are not in use and remain plugged into a power source or electrical outlet.
These include televisions left on standby modes, modems and printers that are left plugged into sockets even after you turn them off. Even when phone chargers are not charging a phone, they are still consuming small amounts of electricity. Hence, the reason chargers left plugged in become warm because electricity is still running through their wires and circuits.
Much of the energy saving ideas mentioned here require more than just a lifestyle change on your part. For all it is worth, those small changes will save you money that you can use for the most important things in life.
Sick of cleaning the dust in your house?
Did you know that dust is made up of tiny solid particles which can be organic or inorganic, and are either suspended in the air or found settled onto surfaces of furniture and the floor? Whatever type they are, dust is something that can cause damage to both your home and your health. How so?
Dust and Your Home
Perhaps the most obvious way that dust damages your home or apartment is by ruining its aesthetic appeal. A dusty home comes across as unsanitary and unwelcoming which is not an image most of us want to portray.
In addition, dust can also damage most of your electronic appliances, from your computers, TV through to air conditioners, refrigerators and freezers.
Air Conditioners in general have filters and coils, and it is these particular components that are the ones affected by dust. When dust builds ups on these coils, the unit becomes less efficient and is forced to work harder, using more electricity and leaving you with less cool air.
Dust and Your Health
The more important reason you need to keep your home dust free is for you and your health. Aside from triggering asthma attacks and allergic reactions, when you inhale dust, there is a likelihood of you developing minor to severe respiratory tract infections.
The way this develops is beginning with breathing in dust through the nose. When dust settles there and is not removed, it can cause the mucus membranes to become inflamed, a condition known as rhinitis. If dust passes through the nose and goes deeper into the airways, it can affect bigger air passages such as the trachea and bronchi, causing tracheitis and bronchitis respectively.
If dust reaches the lungs and the lung’s protective mechanisms, it can lead to the development of more serious issues.
Earlier we mentioned that dust can be organic or inorganic, and knowing which type of dust is inhaled is very important. For one, when you inhale silica dust, you risk damaging the lung tissue which can cause scarring. If it were crystalline silica, the damage can be so severe that it impairs the functions of the lungs.
Inhalation of asbestos can damage the airways and cause lungs to become stiff and lose their elasticity. Furthermore, dust particles that are dissolved in the bloodstream can cause serious health issues.
Keeping You and Your Home Safe
Considering all the damage that dust can do, it is imperative to try and keep your home free of dust. Whilst it’s not the easiest of tasks, here are some simple ways you can implement starting today:
The last point is very important since dust travels through air, and you don’t want your air conditioners to blow dirty around your house after all the cleaning you’ve done. To book a HydroKleen, please contact your local technician on 1300 608 318.