Interior Brick Walls and Allergies

I'm in Cambridge visiting my sister who's in graduate school at Harvard. This is my first ‘real’ time being in the Boston area (I can't really count the three-hour stop I made here almost a decade ago) and I'm enjoying this Europe-like city very much.

One thing you can't help noticing here is the vast quantities of brick, which is used in sidewalks and in many of the buildings, both inside and out. And since my sister's dream loft (as in the one she wished she lived in, but doesn't) includes exposed brick on the interior, she points out this architectural detail whenever we encounter it.

What does all this have to do with allergies, you might wonder? Brick, beautiful and interesting as it is, is not a good design option for those with allergies. One reason is that the uneven surface of bricks collects allergens like dust mite allergen – and brick is not easy to clean. In addition, because brick is porous, it can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mildew, also not healthy for allergy and asthma sufferers, or anyone, for that matter.

If you find yourself living or working with interior brick, just realize that it could be an allergen source. Take steps to mitigate the effect the brick may have on your allergies by vacuuming the wall regularly and looking into a sealant to keep mildew and bacteria from growing. As always, knowledge is power and education is the first step to better health.

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