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General,  Health,  Lifestyle,  Minimalism

House Dust Allergy – what now?

I’ve suffered from allergies for as long as I can remember. Contrary to what the headline suggests, I wasn’t diagnosed with a house dust allergy at the time, but one against small animal hair. For me, contact with manageable animals such as B. hamsters or guinea pigs, but also birds (or their feathers, including down) immediately on the lungs. Then, from one second to the next, I simply can’t breathe: asthma. As a first grader, I received this diagnosis from the doctor at the time. Immediately afterwards my hamsters were given away. We also had to move. The doctor said our coal stove wasn’t particularly good for my lung health either. For a little more than 35 years I’ve been living quite well in spite of this limitation. I don’t have to be near these animals. Fortunately, down in bedding or winter jackets can now also be replaced with polyester fillings or the like. Then I only had asthma attacks very rarely, at most times when I accidentally stayed near such animals. This happened, for example, when I was standing at the checkout in a garden center with a package of potting soil. I suddenly felt a shortness of breath and with it a panic rose in me. They also had a small zoo section there, which I didn’t know about. But I quickly felt better in the fresh air.

I’m fed up!

Overall, however, it was usually more of a minor impairment, as I was prepared for it. But what has really bothered me for many, many years is the fact that I almost always have a slight cold. My consumption of salt water nasal sprays is really perverse high. I would even prefer to use only the decongestant sprays because they are the only ones that really help. But I don’t want to completely destroy my mucous membrane, so I try to alleviate the discomfort with nasal showers and brine sprays. A few years ago I had already suggested to the doctor that a house dust allergy might be the cause. After a test, however, he denied it and dismissed the symptoms as not worth pursuing. He doesn’t have that everlasting, never-ending cold either!
Of course, I have also asked Dr. Google why it could be that my nose is almost ALWAYS blocked. The online diagnoses were different. After the doctor said it couldn’t be a house dust allergy, I was slowly coming to terms with the fact that my nasal septum would have to be operated on.

Skin cancer prevention

The turning point came a few days ago: I am currently in the process of ticking off some of the preventive examinations that are due from time to time (gynecologist, dentist, over 40 check-up, …). So I also made an appointment with the dermatologist. He asked me about my allergies and when I told him about them and when he asked that I was not carrying an asthma spray with me because I rarely had attacks, he reacted slightly concerned. He suggested doing a new allergy test after all these years. Then he could specifically prescribe an active ingredient that I should always carry with me in the form of an asthma spray.

This test took place last week.

The young lady who applied the prick test to my back suddenly uttered “I thought so!” after waiting around 20 minutes.
I, a little surprised, asked of course. The test only responded to two things: house dust mite and storage mite. She then explained to me that it was the same with her. You also have a house dust allergy, but would also react to small animals and feathers – but probably more to the mites in the litter and / or food. Another test, a blood test, should give the result more precise information. So in a few weeks I will know if I have any other allergies.

I’m allergic to dusting

People with a house dust allergy have always received particularly great sympathy from me because it is a really nasty allergy that cannot really be avoided all year round.

Well, now I can feel sorry for myself … or just get active! In fact, I was more reassured when I found out. Now at least I know what is wrong with me, why I have a chronically blocked nose, and why my bronchi are always slightly covered. And those who know their enemy can fight them or at least keep them in check.
Thank goodness the Internet offers an incredible number of tips and Education articles on the subject of mites, or mite excrement – the real evil. Accordingly, I now know what to do to make the little arachnids much more uncomfortable: Frequent airing and washing, encasings (mite-impermeable covers), significantly more vacuuming with a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter, changing mattresses etc.

Minimalism vs. house dust allergy

Fortunately, fate had already begun: I was just about to to get closer to my dream of a minimalist apartment step by step. In the living room I had succeeded somewhat earlier, but not really in the combined bedroom and study. The #stayathome vacation had changed that a little: I have separated me from a lot of things. I was able to sell more than expected, and I was able to give away or donate an awful lot. I didn’t see the whole thing as a one-off thing, but as a prelude to keep clearing out stuff that doesn’t mean anything to me or isn’t used. The less dust accumulates. That makes it all the easier to keep everything clean.

On the first slide I was able to dismantle one of two closets in the bedroom. Since I still wanted to make room for my partner in the closet for his time with me, I moved the bed linen, visitor pillows and seasonal inlays into my underbed drawers. Before that, I had mostly disposed of or sold their old content. A somewhat wobbly clothes rack from the basement was temporarily reactivated for my clothes and placed in the space that has now been vacated. Here I went to Pinterest already got great inspirations, how I can soon make it in chic .

Clothes on a simple clothes rail

Mites force a change of plan

Well, this plan had to be thrown overboard again at short notice – luckily in time before I could implement it. Unfortunately, I had to learn that if you are allergic to house dust you shouldn’t leave your clothes open in the (bedroom) room, but rather store them in a closet. It is also recommended that the mattress (more often than usual to be replaced completely and) urgently to allow air to come in from all sides. That is why we strongly advise against using bed boxes or the like! Curtains aren’t that good an idea either. But if you have them, they should be washed regularly at at least 60°C.

This applies to pretty much all textiles (especially in the sleeping area).
That with the curtain is, to be honest, a great keyword. I now feel a little encouraged to take mine off and wash it after 3 years (!!!). I had planned to do that a long time ago because the curtain is about half a meter too long. The amount of fabric always wipes along the wooden floor, collecting and whirling up dust when I open or close the window. Vacuuming the side of the window (and thus my bed) is therefore not much fun, which is why it doesn’t happen every now and then (cough).

So it should now be shortened. Cotton fabric should, however, be washed before shortening, as it can shrink a good 10% during the first wash. In the last few years, however, I’ve always somehow avoided that.

The next round

Hardly used to the status of the last mucking out, the house dust allergy diagnosis forces me to become active again immediately. First are the four drawers under the bed. When they are empty, they will be sold at Ebay classifieds and nebenan.de. I reorganize your content or reduce it again. Without the curtain, which sometimes hangs outside on the line after washing, so that it will hopefully be dry again by the evening, it looks in the bedroom as if I have just moved in. I like the bright and free sight very much.

A few hours later I proudly hung the freshly washed and finally shortened curtain again, I fall tired into bed. But I was also very busy, as I had also vacuumed the whole apartment and cleaned the sofa and the carpet in front of it in the living room with a suitable device to wash the mites and their excrement from the fibers. You don’t want to know what the water looked like afterwards! Worried, my eyes fall on the clothes rack. For the following day I had actually decided to get a few things in the hardware store in order to build a more affordable open bar solution and now, due to the house dust allergy, the clothes have to disappear behind doors again?

Making a virtue out of necessity

When I look into my wardrobe, which still looks airy despite the freshly added bedding from the underbed drawers, the idea occurs to me:
I could do more with my clothes stow according to the KonMari method. Some time ago I already had learned about a very space-saving folding technique from the Chinese Dan Wu and have since implemented it for my t-shirts and pants. T-shirts, socks and sports gear are already upright in drawers or boxes, the other things are not yet. In this context, it occurs to me that I had read somewhere that hanging clothes take up the most space. They can be neatly folded and stored in drawers or cupboards to save space. Well, you guessed what it’s going to lead to: the stand is going away. The parts on the stand (this is a blouse, blazers / suits that are still on probation after being sorted out for the first time, and my clothes) have to be cleverly folded in the closet or gone for good!
Only the evening dresses are allowed to hang in the protective cover on the hook on the outside of the closet, at least for now.

I need boxes

If everything in the closet gets too full (I just love the light, airy, orderly appearance), the clever concept of the Capsule Wardrobe will simply be used. Otherwise I would deal with the interesting topic in more detail later, one by one …

I would like to have another drawer for my only 30 cm deep Ikea Pax cabinet. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find what I was looking for on Ebay classified ads. But I don’t want to buy any new ones because I consciously want to reduce my consumption. In view of the necessary purchases in connection with the mite avoidance strategy, this has unfortunately already suffered a small damper. Even shoe boxes that are already – with flour paste and newsprint reinforced – I don’t have any left in the cupboard insert. In the last few years I have sent out a few sales.

 Roll with SnapPap material

Suddenly I remember: Many years ago I had cool boxes from SnapPap material (also washing paper or vegan leather) discovered in a design shop. They were comparatively expensive, considering that you could easily do them yourself. So I ordered this material by the meter to sew the boxes. The delivery arrived and I packed the rolls aside with great anticipation. In the meantime I’ve moved them once too. In the new apartment they ended up first in the corner for a few years, and there they are still standing: next to the clothes rack, which has to go!
As if it should be like this: I sew the clothes storage FROM THIS and get rid of another dust collector in the same breath. YEAH !

It is done!

So I cut, sew, fold and stow all afternoon and evening. The inspiring audio book “My life in three boxes“, the autobiographical story of author Anne Weiss, accompanied me.

White boxes off sturdy wash leather, which is filled with evenly folded garments.

I’m pleasantly surprised at how space-saving clothes off the rack can be stowed away in the closet. I didn’t even use a clever folding technique to fold the blazers, but only put them once over the middle.

 Wardrobe with boxes

Now I have ticked off or at least initiated the first renovation measures for my bedroom, which were necessary due to the house dust allergy. The bed is free below , the curtain is freshly washed and after shortening it does not stir up dust. The encasings and an allergy-friendly mattress have been ordered, and all of the clothing is stored in a dust-reducing manner. With the removal of the clothes rail, new space has been created again. My dream has been for a long time to have a small (used) wall bars to do daily exercises like pull-ups & Co. to make. Oh, let’s see …

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