Why Kiwis Are Allergic To Their Own Homes
Many New Zealanders are allergic to their own homes. Instead of being places of relaxation and comfort, a lot of Kiwi houses are full of allergens which makes living in them less than pleasant.
Much of this is due to the enormous amount of pollen floating through the air, particularly at springtime. Grass, weeds and forests are all culprits, as is the trend for New Zealanders to plant exotic and pollen-laden trees in their gardens like birch and olive.
While pollen is a well-known allergen and a highly visible one thanks to the yellow dust that builds up on surfaces all over the country, there are other things getting right up Kiwi noses. For example, dust mites are highly prevalent in New Zealand homes. There are several simple reasons for this: many local houses are too humid, which presents a wonderful breeding ground for dust mites. Poor ventilation is another factor, while the abundance of carpet on New Zealand floors gives mites a safe haven.
Our love for pets is another cause. Such is our affection for them, we share our living spaces with our furry friends and because pets spend so much time indoors, they shed a huge amount of dander, fur, mites, ticks, fleas and other allergy-causing matter. Again, as many New Zealand homes are carpeted, there is a natural habitat for all these things to settle into.
Many New Zealand homes are, to put it bluntly, poorly designed and built; the country’s ongoing “leaky home crisis” further underlines that fact. A lack of ventilation, and extremes in cold and hot temperatures, all combine to create damp and humid conditions in which mould and mildew thrive. Many studies have confirmed the link between indoor fungal spore counts, fungal allergen levels, and allergic symptoms. The black mould Stachybotrys enjoys growing in several water-damaged homes around New Zealand, and while it is not always toxic, its presence does confirm an unacceptably high level of indoor dampness, which is linked to increased allergies.
Removing allergens from New Zealand homes can be done on several fronts. Replacing carpeted flooring with hard surfaces is a big step, but a very effective one. Investing in anti-allergen barriers for bedding is another, as is improved ventilation and humidity control. When it comes to heating and cooling, heat pumps are recommended. They can easily hold homes at a healthy temperature, one that is not too hot or too cold, while their advanced filtration systems can remove microscopic particles from the air before delivering allergen-free air back into the environment. These steps combined will go a long way to ensuring Kiwis are no longer allergic to the places they call home.