How to combat allergy to humidity?
Many of the conditions that are commonly contracted in homes have a common denominator: humidity. A problem that goes beyond aesthetics and structural damage to homes, as it affects the body in different ways. Especially, causing allergic pictures in most children and the elderly.
The humidity in the ceilings and walls of the houses increases the risks of suffering from respiratory and dermatological problems and also aggravates rheumatic diseases. This is because the humidity present in the enclosures creates an environment conducive to the proliferation of fungi, mites and bacteria that cause serious conditions.
With the arrival of autumn and winter, the level of humidity in homes increases, which favors the fungi to generate spores that cause, among other ailments, difficulty breathing, tiredness, a feeling of discomfort, chills, headache or cold feet.
Common causes of damp
Dampness and mold thrive in homes or buildings that have excessive condensation, are poorly ventilated, or lack adequate natural lighting.
There are three causes that favor the appearance of humidity; first of all the water leaks. These are generated when the walls present in the construction are not completely watertight, which is why they allow moisture to penetrate their structure and manifest in the form of stains.
Secondly, we have capillarity or ascending humidity, which occurs when the structure of the house absorbs the existing water on the ground. Finally there is condensation, a situation in which the air contains high levels of vapor and when it comes into contact with the cold surfaces inside, it is deposited as water droplets.
All this causes deterioration in the walls and ceilings, as well as in furniture such as flamenco drawers, tables, sofas, etc. and it can even attack clothing, so fungus can be found on clothes that can damage our most precious outfits.
However, the humidity caused by condensation is the most dangerous for people’s health. Sleeping with humidity in the room, even for people with heat intolerance, could cause lung problems.
Likewise, when there is humidity in the environment, it is not advisable to use a humidifier for coughs, in cases of asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease or allergic rhinitis; since this device could trigger a respiratory crisis, since they are designed to deal with dry air.
The types of fungi that cause allergy to humidity
Respiratory allergy is a condition caused by the inhalation of spores produced by fungi; which are present in the air we breathe. For their proliferation and subsistence they need high levels of humidity, in addition to windy and sunny climates that spread their spores.
From a clinical point of view, there are some fungi capable of producing different types of allergies in humid conditions. These are mainly Alternaria and Cladosporium, which are predominant pathogens in external environments, and Penicillium and Aspergillus, which prefer indoors.
With regard to allergy to Alternaria, it is worth mentioning that this fungus is capable of producing one of the most aggressive allergies known to date. Unlike throat fungus, which can be cured with medical treatment, this pathogen is very difficult to treat.
The most frequent symptoms
Although we are all exposed to these allergens in some way, there are people whose immune system produces a disproportionate response, generating antibodies and manifesting respiratory allergy symptoms. These symptoms should not be ignored, as they could trigger serious pathologies such as closed bronchi or allergic cough.
Mold and mildew allergies do not have seasonal symptoms, since the spores in the air are usually present throughout the year; however, they become more recurrent during the cold season. In general, among the symptoms of allergy are frequent sneezing accompanied by mucus and nasal obstruction.
Dyspnea or shortness of breath may also occur. Likewise, people with a history of asthma could see their respiratory conditions exacerbated. A sore throat is another symptom that occurs, as is dry skin.
Similarly, it is common for these allergies to also cause chest tightness and even symptoms of bronchopulmonary pneumonitis.
Environmental and pharmacological treatment
To help solve the problems of allergies caused by humidity, it is advisable to follow some recommendations at home. First of all, it is essential that the rooms are ventilated and the ambient humidity controlled at a level below 50%. To do this, it is necessary to use an electric dehumidifier that efficiently maintains the percentage of healthy humidity in the home.
Likewise, it is important to mention that mites are sensitive to sunlight, so a house lit with natural light and well ventilated helps in the prevention of these allergens.
On the other hand, if there are people in the home who suffer from these allergies, they should be evaluated by a health professional, who will indicate the medical treatment to be followed according to their pathology. However, in general, among the most used medications to deal with allergic conditions we have:
The use of antihistamines, which favor the reduction of sneezing, nasal congestion and itching, since they lower histamine levels.
Nasal sprays containing corticosteroids that help decrease upper airway inflation.
Leukotriene inhibitors that control mucus secretion.
Nasal washes using saline solution or salt water is also an option that helps reduce nasal irritation.
However, beyond pretending to provide a pharmacological solution to health problems caused by humidity and fungi, the most important aspect to solve allergies is to annihilate the fungicidal source that affects the structure of the building or home. Eliminating the foci can prevent the proliferation of allergens and thus also avoid the unnecessary consumption of medications.