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Allergic to horse-hair in plaster (in walls)

(9 Posts)
QuintMissesChristmasesPast Mon 03-Jan-11 17:08:51

Just before leaving our London house we discovered that I am allergic to horsehair, and this was the reason why I had chronic sinusitis. After moving to Norway nearly 3 years ago, I have had problems with my sinuses once, as opposed to having sinus infections and needing antibiotics once a month at least and allergy spray daily.

Do you know if there is anything we can do regards to minimizing the problem if we were to return to our London house?

Or should we try look for a more modern house, or one built without horsehair to "bind" the plaster? I am keen on a period house. We had a "working class cottage" in south west London, and loved the neighbourhood as it was so green and leafy. I would like to return there, but not if I get ill again.

Any advice?

BluTac Mon 03-Jan-11 17:11:30

Could you have it re-plastered?

QuintMissesChristmasesPast Mon 03-Jan-11 17:14:51

You mean, on top of the current plaster?

The problems really started after we built a conservatory and took down part of a wall, I think this exposed the plaster. The plasterer found the horsehair, and pointed it out to me. He said it was a cheap but durable way of plastering cheaper housing. My problems started in full after the building works, so I am assuming a lot of the particles got out, and were spread across the house.

I wonder if adding another layer of paper on the walls and repainting would suffice.

The kitchen and conservatory is new, so at least two rooms are "safe". And the bathroom is tiled, so I guess that is ok too?

BluTac Mon 03-Jan-11 17:28:50

I suppose I meant, have the original plaster taken off and replaced. Obviously a very big job though. Maybe if you air the house well and keep vacuuming the problem will eventually go away though? Sorry I have no personal experience.

hellymelly Mon 03-Jan-11 17:37:52

We have had some rooms in our house skimmed,where the plasterer coats the old plaster (hideous artex ceilings in our case)with a new thin layer.With this and paint over it,no allergens from the horse hair would come through.However,I do wonder if that is the whole story,as the hair would have been quite well encapsulated in the plaster,and easy to hoover up.Possibly the general dust was an issue for you,possibly something else also in the exposed walls,mold or lime.Or maybe the pollution in London is affecting you too,Norway has much cleaner air.Could also be a dust mite issue.Have you had skin prick testing to establish what you are allergic to? They would do this at St Mary's (Paddington)if you were in London,or you could have it done in Norway.They could test for horse,dustmite,and other likely culprits.At least then you would know what the issue is.

QuintMissesChristmasesPast Mon 03-Jan-11 17:49:13

It was skin prick testing that revealed my allergy to horsehair. It was a real lightbulb moment considering I already knew the walls were literally plastered in horsehair. I had the test done privately in London, as the standard hospital one did not reveal much.

hellymelly Mon 03-Jan-11 20:37:00

Well,if horsehair is the only allergen as far as you are aware,then the skimming should solve it and be less aexpensive and produce no horsehair laden dust,unlike re-plastering.You could also get a miele vacuum cleaner with an allergy filter and make sure all the previous dust has been removed.Damp dusting (with a damp cloth)should be done too.Ecos,the eco paint people,do a paint primer/undercoat that helps block any seepage from underneath,it was suggested for over a lead painted floor I have.You could call "the healthy house" for advice on paint etc. At least it sounds easy to resolve,unless your DH takes up riding!

QuintMissesChristmasesPast Tue 04-Jan-11 21:00:44

Thank you Helly, it is good to have an idea of what to do. Great link.

ppeatfruit Sat 08-Jan-11 09:12:39

I assume you have stopped eating dairy for 6 weeks?i always get bad sinus reactions to dairy which i don't usually eat so i know.

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