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Coping with Asthma

Old Style Radiators Packed with Dust

  • By expos4ever

    Greetings, new here. My asthma is exceedingly intermittent – I can go months with no problems, but then relapse very badly for a few weeks, I often experience a setback at this time of year (early winter). I live in Montreal and it has been very cold, and that may be a problem. Anyway, my question concerns dust buildup on those old-fashioned radiators – the ones from decades ago that have about a million nooks and crannies. My new apartment has these radiators and I just discovered they are packed – and I mean really packed – with dust. The quantities are mind-boggling, actually. And I believe dust mites can be a problem for me. However, much of the dust cannot be accessed for removal (I suppose I could use high-pressure water and clean up the muddy mess), On the other hand, given that this dust is embedded in a radiator, and that my apartment is very dry, perhaps the dust is too dry and hot to harbour mites. Any thoughts? – Could hot, dry dust packed into the crevices of a radiator be a problem for an asthmatic?

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  • By Richard Faust

    Thanks for writing expos4ever. You mention that you believe dust mites may be an issue for you. You may want to ask your doctor about testing. This article form our editorial team on allergens has a section on dust mites: https://asthma.net/triggers/allergens/. It notes that “Dust mite allergens are found in carpeting, bedding, upholstered furniture, and clothing, but rarely on hard surfaces.9 Allergic symptoms may worsen when the dust is disturbed, such as during cleaning or vacuuming.” Hopefully some community members have some thoughts on cleaning and methods. A dust mask may be useful for any dealing with dust, as well as good ventilation. You mention that you live in an apartment, so maybe the management can be of assistance in dealing with the issue. Wishing you the best. Richard (Asthma.net Team)

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  • By Leon Lebowitz, RRT Moderator

    Hi expos4ever and thanks for your inquiry. I think that Richard has provided you with an excellent place to start as far as the dust/radiator situation. The article he referenced is ‘on target’, and we’re hopeful you found it to be practical and useful. That level of dust buildup could certainly harbor dust mites. It would be prudent for you to look into getting this cleaned up, as Richard suggested. Perhaps it shouldn’t be YOU doing the cleaning with that much dust volume. Please do check back and let us know how you’re doing.
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

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  • By Norty

    I am about to get my baseboard heaters cleaned. They are about 20 years old and have never been cleaned inside. I am allergic to dust and am hoping that this will help.

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  • By Leon Lebowitz, RRT Moderator

    Hi Norty and thanks for your post. It sounds like those baseboard heaters could benefit from a thorough cleaning. I’m hopeful that will take care of the issues you have that are related to dust. Please do check back and let us know how you’re doing. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

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