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Is it possible to be allergic to a place?

(19 Posts)
Kate54 Sat 12-Sep-20 09:25:00

Has anyone concluded they are allergic to a place?
I have lived in this house for seven years and have never slept well, waking up with bunged up sinuses and, more recently, feelings of anxiety.
During that time, I have semi-retired (could be a clue there) so my days are not as structured.
In the last few months, I have also been suffering from, of all things, a very itchy throat and neck.
I notice that this all improves/disappears when I am away from this house and this town. The minute I’m back, the sleeplessness, anxiety and the annoying itching start up again.
Can I be allergic to the town, the house, the bedroom, the bed, the mattress, the bedding??? Where to start? Or is the whole thing psychological (much more difficult to fix)?
It may be that when I’m away (e.g. this last week, helping to look after human dynamo of a toddler GS) the tiredness sorts
me out. Trips away tend to be active, too,so perhaps produce the same effect. Or perhaps my brain tells me to relax because there’s no point worrying about things waiting for me at home (none of which are particularly stressful at the moment but always have the potential to be).
It’s a mystery and an increasingly depressing one.
Any ideas before I splash out on a Travelodge mattress?!

Beechnut Sat 12-Sep-20 09:34:51

To answer your question Kate54, I don’t know, but what I do know is that we used to camp in a tent for our holidays and I always found a difference when coming back home for a while. I used to put it down to sleeping in cooler nighttime surroundings.

BlueBelle Sat 12-Sep-20 10:07:25

Only in your mind..... unless of course its a house with damp or mould or a garden of trees you are allergic to but if course you could be allergic to any of the things you mention the bed the bed clothes the washing powder carpets any number of things but it could also be psychological once something happens in a place our brain can associate that place with the happening

J52 Sat 12-Sep-20 10:13:45

There is such a thing as Sick Building Syndrome, might be worth a google. You don’t say how old your house is, but the construction materials could be contributing to your difficulties.
I once taught in a small, two storey annex, poorly built In the 60s. The students were often unsettled when in those classrooms. I put it down to the building materials, damp and mould!

vampirequeen Sat 12-Sep-20 10:17:21

There are lots of things in a building that can cause allergic reactions. I suffer from allergies and they're worse in winter when the central heating is on. I don't know if there is 'invisible' dust rising with the heat or it encourages house mites or it's something else but it's real and it happens every year. You can also be allergic to laundry detergent, household cleaners etc. Most people expect those types of things to cause contact allergies but they can cause reactions because of the fumes. Have you any 'hidden' damp patches? Even small ones can cause problems if you're sensitive to spores. To be honest it's possible to be allergic to just about anything.

Gingster Sat 12-Sep-20 10:55:49

We are lucky enough to have a cottage by the sea as well as our house in a busy area with traffic congestion and noisy neighbours. While by the sea I am relaxed, dont suffer from IBS and enjoy a simple way of life. When I come back to the busy place, I gradually become more agitated and like you have potential stress triggers. I hate driving around and even the shortest journey gives me panic attacks. Why don’t we move to the seaside permanently? My family and friends are all in the busy place and I miss them. Home is where the heart is ♥️.

Granny23 Sat 12-Sep-20 11:09:21

I have only just restarted doing my own shopping in Supermarkets. On both occasions (2 different stores) I took a fit of sneezing in the washing powder aisles. Same used to happen when I drove or walked past a field of oilseed rape - thankfully none grown locally this year.

EllanVannin Sat 12-Sep-20 11:24:59

There is a lot to be said for living near the sea. I don't know if it's the air or what but it makes you feel different, more relaxed. I'm a sea-sider and couldn't live anywhere else. I think the open-ness without the restrictions of surrounding buildings helps a lot too and 5 minutes away from me is the vast expanse of the sea and beaches of course.

I'm sure I'd feel very unsettled if I was somewhere in a town/village, so really, it depends whether you like the place/area where you are and if that's impacting on your general and mental health. You do tend to blame where you are when/if ill health crops up and the more you think about it the worse you become, it having a knock-on effect each time.

If you drive, have a run around the area and take in what's around you and perhaps get out more and learn to appreciate your home. Wear yourself out with some serious shopping and you could be glad to plonk yourself down in your home at the end of the day.

Buy some plants if you have a garden and take an interest in watching things grow. It's bulb-planting time so get those daffs/narcissus in tubs and spend time outdoors. I'm sure you'll be okay if you " switch " your thoughts to something else.

Greyduster Sat 12-Sep-20 11:28:47

I’m convinced I am allergic to our present house. I do my best to keep the dust down (no my GN handle has nothing to do with dusting!) but since we moved here I wake up most mornings and have a terrific sneezing fit - sometimes much of the day. My nose itches and runs like a tap. I was intensively tested some years ago for allergies and nothing was identified. They put it down to ‘environmental factors’! When we go on holiday, I never sneeze at all, and when we are out walking in the countryside, I don’t sneeze.

GrandmaMoira Sat 12-Sep-20 11:38:01

I used to live near a very busy inner city main road. Since moving away my hay fever and allergies have improved enormously. The Practice Nurse told me I had moved to the wrong area for an allergy sufferer as it has so many trees, but she was wrong!

lovebeigecardigans1955 Sat 12-Sep-20 13:09:44

'Sick building' syndrome has been mentioned and it could well be a factor. I used to work at the HQ of a well-known High Street name and was plagued with headaches as was another girl. We put it down to the general stuffiness of the place and the air conditioning - it was impossible to open a floor to ceiling window. Psychology could come into it too and as you say, more difficult to fix.

craftyone Sat 12-Sep-20 13:22:03

kate it does sound like one of a few things or more than one
a build up of static
A build up of VOCs
carbon monoxide

The first one can be helped by going outside and earthing yourself on bare ground, in bare feet. See how you are after that. You can buy various earthing devices, especially a small mat to sleep on.

The second one is caused by the very many man made structures and fabrics in a house. Every house needs good ventilation, these VOCs are gases and will rise and will clear out if you give the house a good old fashioned blow through

I am also concerned about a possibility of a build up of carbon monoxide, you need to make sure that detectors are in place and working

Go around the air bricks at the base of your house, take a pointy stick and clear each and every one of them. Make sure too that window vents are open all the time

If you can, bottom your bedroom very thoroughly and the skirtings behind the bed, behind the headboard etc. Try and change your bedding for cotton sheets and wool duvets or blankets. Vacuum your matress and change your pillows if they are old or bend down when held over your forarm

You may have a bit of mould somewhere, hidden perhaps in the bathroom or bedroom or around the windows. Aspergillus mould can also cause all those symptoms of yours

ginny Sat 12-Sep-20 13:28:12

My Grandmother has to stop going to Bournemouth , which she loved as she was always I’ll after a couple of days. She put it down to the amount of pine trees . hmm

Kate54 Sat 12-Sep-20 15:28:51

Gosh what a lot of really useful, supportive advice! Many, many thanks. Gingster I too have a holiday home by the sea (didn’t mention it as I’ve seen other GNers disapproving of ‘wealth signalling’ and generally feel better there. Our usual abode is about 20 yeasts old, no mould or damp, and OH doesn’t suffer at all, nor do guests.
The carbon monoxide check is a good idea, though. I think cities can generally be better in a way - have just spent a week in a very hectic part of London with no adverse effects.
I suspect it’s my head. Moving to the sea would probably just be doing what they call ‘the geographicals’ in mental health circles I.e. the problems move with you.
More physical activity can only be a good thing.

Kate54 Sat 12-Sep-20 15:29:45

For ‘yeasts’ read ‘years’ !

Sparklefizz Sat 12-Sep-20 15:58:48

Carpets and underlay can also cause problems.

NotSpaghetti Sat 12-Sep-20 16:09:52

You say you were better when very tired so why not try some exercise if you are generally a bit on the sedentary side?
My husband always sleeps better after a day working in the garden or after an evening swim and invariably feels happier after some sort of exercise.

I'm not discounting other ideas of course, but this may be a quick fix.

Kate54 Sat 12-Sep-20 16:45:26

And let’s face it, more exercise might help the lock down weight gain...

grandtanteJE65 Sun 13-Sep-20 11:15:11

Yes, you can be allergic to the bedding, to the washing powder you wash your sheets in, and sadly to the building materials that were used in your house.

If your pillow is stuffed with down, try a synthetic one, if synthetic try a down pillow.

I am allergic to anything made with or containing polyester and it is difficult to get anyone to take that seriously. Synthetic pillows and duvets are sold as "allergy free", which is fine if you are allergic to sheep's wool or duck feathers. Not so good if you are allergic to man-made fibres.

Change your washing powder to one of those tested as suitable for people with allergies or astma.

Have you tried sleeping with a window slightly open?

Are there any signs of black mould anywhere in the house?

If the house was built in the 1970s the blockboard etc. used may well still be given off too much formaldehyde, which fits some of the symptoms you describe.

Being tested for allergies is a lengthy process and may not end with you showing any allergy at all, if like me you are trouble by something the medical profession denies can hurt you.

Keep a diary of what you eat, wear, wash in or with for a month and see if there are any indications on what you don't do on your better days.