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Vacuum Cleaners Can Make Us Sick

Aerosols made with the aid of vacuum effect, that is vacuumed dust, contain bacteria that may cause diseases in babies as well as persons with allergies or a weakened immune system.

Photo: Flickr
Photo: Flickr

Caroline Duchaine and her colleagues used a tunnel filled with specially cleaned air to measure the quality of 21 aerosols created by vacuum cleaners of various types and ages. The research revealed that, besides human skin and hair particles, the aerosol created by a vacuum cleaner may contain microbes that live inside homes, in the air or in the dust on floors. If these microbes are inhaled and the results may be infections, allergies or asthma.
The research published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology reveals that the examined samples were loaded with very dangerous microbes, containing five genes that are resistant to antibiotics, as well as the gene of botulinum toxin. . The infection caused by Clostridium botulinum can have very serious consequences; according to older research, it can even cause sudden infant death.

Dust mite allergies

The creatures commonly called dust mites are in fact two different species of arachnids: Dermatophagoides pteronyssus and Dermatophagoides farinae. These insect are about 0,3 mm long and they are related to spiders. The number of dust mites increases at the end of spring, in the summer and at the beginning of the fall, because the air inside homes becomes more moist when the heating system is off. During the winter the air becomes drier as soon as the homes begin being heated, and these circumstances are not favourable for dust mites. Dust mites feed on dead human skin cells; therefore they occur in large numbers in areas where dead skin cells are abundant: bed sheets, pillows, furniture, throws, carpets and plush toys. The feces of dust mites break into microscopical particles, they become airborne, and cause allergic reactions if they are inhaled or reach the skin. Among household allergens, dust mite feces cause respiratory allergies the most often.

Our respiratory system is the part of the body that gets in contact the most often with dust mite feces, and that’s why allergy-based flu or asthma develop. during a single day, a person inhales about 9000 liters of air. Our nasal cavity, among else, has the role of straining unnecessary particles. Unfortunately, though, particles that are smaller than 0.002 mm have a great chance to reach the lungs. The feces of dust mites are able to stick to the mucous membrane of the nose and eventually reach the lungs too.

If case of sensitized individuals, inhaling or getting in contact with household dust may cause inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane and the conjunctiva. These symptoms are similar to pollen allergies, such as tearing, itchy, red eyes, a running , stuffed, itchy nose, sneezing, itching of the mouth palate etc. Later on, a dry, forceful cough may develop, and convulsions develop in the bonchi, which cause various types of respiratory illnesses, such as difficult breathing, cough attachs or asthma.