Many people believe that carpets aggravate allergy issues, but studies have shown that if carpeting is kept clean, it is totally safe for allergy sufferers. Werner Gouws, Senior Contracts Manager of leading South African flooring suppliers and installers, KBAC Flooring, says that carpets act like a filter, trapping allergens and keeping them out of the air office workers breathe.

“Trapped allergens – such as pollen, dust, fungi, and in homes, pet dander – can then easily be removed through proper cleaning techniques and equipment. The same cannot be said of some competitive types of flooring,” says Werner.

Although 60 million Americans suffer from respiratory ailments, it is a misconception that carpets are bad for people with allergies, says a representative for the American-based United Allergy Services (UAS), an organisation established to advance the understanding of immunotherapy as the best kind of allergy treatment. A 15-year ongoing study that has been published on the UAS website shows no link between carpet, allergy and asthma attacks. In fact, when carpet usage was decreased in Sweden, allergy reactions increased.

A lack of cleanliness and poor ventilation are the biggest contributors to allergies in homes and offices, adds Werner. Besides preventing allergy symptoms, clean carpets and regular maintenance also extends the life of a carpet.

“Most soil is transferred into a facility by foot traffic. KBAC therefore advocates that effective, specialist dirt barrier matting should be installed at external entrances, goods lifts, loading docks and adjoining hard areas. The special tough barrier matting should be maintained and serviced daily and in areas with heavy foot traffic, the matting might even have to be cleaned several times a day. The correct type of barrier matting also helps to prevent dust and moisture reaching the internal carpets,” says Werner.

Indoor air pollution sources should also be considered when looking to reduce allergy reactions in buildings.

“New building materials, furnishing, draperies and blinds also need to be cleaned regularly. A host of microscopic allergens attach themselves to such fittings and could be a major culprit for poor hygiene in the home and workplace,” concludes Werner.

For more information, contact KBAC on +27 (11) 608 4270 or via www.kbacflooring.co.za.

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