Nandini YadavMar 23, 2021 09:27:46 IST
Dyson recently conducted its third annual Global Dust Study – undertaken by 10,754 respondents from 10 countries around the world – and found that even though dust is cause for concern and a trigger for cleaning, “alarmingly few are aware of what makes up the dust in their homes”. As per the study, while 59 percent of people around the world are cleaning more frequently since the the COVID-19 pandemic, and 1 in 4 respondents are “extremely worried” about the dust in their home, many remain uncertain about the potential link between household dust and viruses and other microbial life.
What constitutes “dust” in an average Indian home?
To help analyse the dust in an average Indian house, dust sample collection was done from our editor, Tushar Burman’s home. Approximately 25 gm of dust samples were collected from three areas, i.e., sofa, carpet, mattress. An average gram of dust samples collected from around his house included bacteria, fungus, human hair, dust mite allergens, cockroach allergens, cat allergens and dog allergens.
Many of these particles are only visible under a microscope. The size of dust mite allergens, mould spores and other insect allergens is often between 0.5 to 5 microns.
The traditional mode of cleaning, which for most people in India is dusting, sweeping and mopping, is usually able to get some dust off, however, what it primarily does is it disturbs the dust mites and their droppings, which can stay airborne for 30 minutes. In the air, they can be easily inhaled and trigger allergic reactions.
In fact, as per the study by Dyson, 1 in 5 participants were surprised to discover that viruses can even be present in household dust and less than 5 percent know that dust mites and their faeces are constituents of dust at all. In reality, house dust mite faeces are considered the most important inducers of allergenic diseases worldwide.
How can dust mites and other allergens affects our health?
“The global asthma report suggests that about 6 percent of children and 2 percent adults have asthma, affecting 15-20 million Indians. Sixty-six percent Indian patients reported exacerbation vs 19 percent in Hong Kong and 21 percent in Taiwan [INSEARCH study]. On an average, patients with asthma reported 8.4 attacks/year, each lasting an average of 4 days. Asthma is just one of the manifestations of an allergy in India, the others being allergic rhinitis/sinusitis, ocular (eye) manifestations, skin and food allergies. Eosinophils, a marker of allergy are elevated in most Indians. Among healthy individuals undergoing a routine health screening at our institution, 67 percent were found to have a high eosinophil count,” says Dr Lancelot Mark Pinto, Consultant Pulmonologist, PD Hinduja Hospital & MRC.
How can you get rid of the allergens from your home?
Ideally, removing bacteria, pollen and dust mite allergens completely from your house is the way to really keep your home clean. Traditional methods of cleaning are seldom able to achieve that. Dyson claims that its vacuum cleaning machines can capture 99.97 percent particles as small as 0.3 microns.