NSS

Breathing easy - at last

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Some of you will know that we've recently completed our build and moved in. What you may not know is why we built the house we have, and why it is quite literally proving to be a breath of fresh air. 

 

Mrs NSS has had various health issues all her life, not least chronic asthma, but a little over 4 years ago things got a whole lot worse. Cumulative damage from the asthma had left the lower third of both lungs in shit shape, and this had led to a 6-weekly cycle of chest infections and antibiotic courses. This vicious circle eventually resulted in hospital admissions for pneumonia and pleurisy, and a diagnosis of Bronchiectasis, a degenerative lung disease for which we were told there was no treatment/cure.

 

My first and only question to the clinician was, "Okay, so what can we do to slow the progression?" The answer, "in an ideal world, live in a hermetically sealed bubble". Essentially, eliminate as many of the irritants (airborne particles and allergens) to her condition as possible, and that's what I set out to achieve from our new home - not so much building the dream as building the bubble.

 

Four years on, plot found, research conducted, house designed and built, and the news is so far so good. We've been in for about two months now and the difference has been remarkable with her reliance on inhalers significantly reduced, and sleeping much better due to reduced congestion. This week she had her regular respiratory check up and her breathing was found to be the best it has been for several years. 

 

Yes, it's early days, but if this house enables me and Mrs NSS to enjoy quality time together for longer than may otherwise have been the case, then it will have been worth every sleepless night, every bead of sweat, and every single penny.

 

Whatever your motivation to self build, take a deep breath and go for it - you won't regret it.

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That is so good to hear!

 

Off the wall this but I've read in a few places that kimchi is supposed to help with asthma.

 

A bit of an acquired taste maybe but I started eating recently as I'm a believer that we have basically killed off our good gut bacteria with our sanitised Western diet and over use of antibiotics that kill good and bad. Results for me have been great. I've lost weight, have more energy and No.2s  "better" (tmi I know). One unexpected thing is a skin rash I've had for years on one shin has completely cleared. Got it from Sainsburys.

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31 minutes ago, NSS said:

Some of you will know that we've recently completed our build and moved in. What you may not know is why we built the house we have, and why it is quite literally proving to be a breath of fresh air. 

 

Mrs NSS has had various health issues all her life, not least chronic asthma, but a little over 4 years ago things got a whole lot worse. Cumulative damage from the asthma had left the lower third of both lungs in shit shape, and this had led to a 6-weekly cycle of chest infections and antibiotic courses. This vicious circle eventually resulted in hospital admissions for pneumonia and pleurisy, and a diagnosis of Bronchiectasis, a degenerative lung disease for which we were told there was no treatment/cure.

 

My first and only question to the clinician was, "Okay, so what can we do to slow the progression?" The answer, "in an ideal world, live in a hermetically sealed bubble". Essentially, eliminate as many of the irritants (airborne particles and allergens) to her condition as possible, and that's what I set out to achieve from our new home - not so much building the dream as building the bubble.

 

Four years on, plot found, research conducted, house designed and built, and the news is so far so good. We've been in for about two months now and the difference has been remarkable with her reliance on inhalers significantly reduced, and sleeping much better due to reduced congestion. This week she had her regular respiratory check up and her breathing was found to be the best it has been for several years. 

 

Yes, it's early days, but if this house enables me and Mrs NSS to enjoy quality time together for longer than may otherwise have been the case, then it will have been worth every sleepless night, every bead of sweat, and every single penny.

 

Whatever your motivation to self build, take a deep breath and go for it - you won't regret it.

Wow - that's amazing - well done and long may it continue

17 minutes ago, Onoff said:

 

Off the wall this but I've read in a few places that kimchi is supposed to help with asthma.

 

for 6 months at the beginning of this year I had a friend's son's fiancee living with me (from Taiwan). Whilst I cannot deny the benefits - having it freshly made in my fridge made me gag every time I opened the door.  I can eat small quantities but I would definitely need a different way of storing it

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22 minutes ago, NSS said:

if this house enables me and Mrs NSS to enjoy quality time together for longer than may otherwise have been the case, then it will have been worth every sleepless night, every bead of sweat, and every single penny.

 

Wow +1. You normally don't consider MVHR to have a super higher function, just recovering some otherwise lost heat, bringing some fresher air in, and maybe drying your Y-fronts a bit quicker on the clothes rack, but to hear this POV may be music to the ears of others who suffer similarly to your wife. 

Enjoy the house, and please pass the collective well wishes of everyone here to your better half. :)  

Best regards, Nick. 

 

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oh wow that is so spooky. The main reason we started down our build road was my health. I too have bronchiectasis and life was becoming progressivly more difficult. We searched for our location on the top of a hill with clean air around and set about building the bubble I had been desperately wanting for several years.

 

I am so thrilled to hear how well your wife is doing it gives me great hope for myself, any improvement however small will be so welcome.  We are still some months away from finishing and lots of hurdles still to overcome but I will start the day tomorrow with renewed hope and optimisim for the future in our bubble,

 

Thank you so much for posting this and I wish you and your wife all the very best in your new home....she and I are very lucky ladies to have such caring partners willing to go to these lengths to improve our quailty of life. xx

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That's great news. So pleased to hear about the improvement in your lives.

 

I had bouts of serious sinusitis at least a couple of times a year starting about 15 years ago. Since moving into our new house with MVHR two years ago, I've had only a couple of minor bouts, and none have ended up with the secondary infection I nearly always used to get.

 

Nothing like as serious as your situation, but better health of any sort is always nice. B|

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That is great news, and supports many of the incidental tales people tell about an airtight house and MVHR improving air quality. 

 

It should really be close to the top when it comes to reasons to build to a decent airtightness standard and then fit MVHR, given the increasing number of people who are commenting on the improved air quality after doing this.

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I used to suffer from childhood asthma, was pretty bad when I was a toddler (scared the hell out of my parents as we lived 1500 miles from nearest hospital).

Luckily we found out that I had an allergy to most 'pets', so avoiding them cured the problem (my mother always had a cat though, and I hate dogs so avoid them anyway).

When I left home and moved to the coast my asthma just cleared up.  Unfortunately university ends (almost) and I had to move back in with parents for a while until I bought my first house.

I was 21 and my asthma came back with a vengeance.

I moved into my own place, an old, damp Victorian terrace, the asthma persisted.  I changed jobs too and was working next to the pattern shop, they used a softwood timber there called gelatin, related to the rubber plant.  In 18 months I had 10 months off work.  Changed jobs and got a lot better (was a lot of detection work to find out it was the timber).

I also moved house, to a more modern, damp and mould free place, and that seemed to help to.

Made up my mind in 1986 that I wanted to live by the coast again, just took me nearly 20 years to do it.

Eventually moved as far west as I could practically go and have not been troubled with asthma since, though I do still get hayfever (which is just an allergy anyway).

My mother is now cat free and staying with her is joy, before it was not.  Her persistent cough seems to have got better as well, though not fully gone.

About 10 years ago I started to get terrible eczema on my hands and arms.  Put it down to a change of washing up liquid at work.  Found out that it was actually fish that was causing it.

I sell a lot of fish, tonnes of the stuff.  I was also eating it 3 or 4 times a week, as we all know how good it is for us and I quite like it.

Because of that, I got a very croaky voice, could hardly speak at one stage.  I was finishing of my second degree at the time and was about to start my teacher training.  Over the following year, I got worse and worse.  I put it down to stress (working full time, studying full time, bad relationship, financial worries, some social isolation, you all know the story).

Eventually I worked out the cause, stopped eating fish and I got a lot better.  I even gave up smoking for a while, but that made no difference except to make me feel stupid and slow.

I think I did some permanent damage to my throat with my fish eating, leaving me with a voice like Bruce Willis, rather than Kenneth Williams.

 

So it comes as no surprise to me that fitting a good ventilation system can markedly improve asthma and other allergy induced breathing problems.  Getting rid of all pets and making sure there is no mould or fungus in the house is good too.  Oh and no wood burners.

I also find that dry air is better for me, so humidity may need to be controlled.

 

Edited by SteamyTea

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9 hours ago, lizzie said:

oh wow that is so spooky. The main reason we started down our build road was my health. I too have bronchiectasis and life was becoming progressivly more difficult. We searched for our location on the top of a hill with clean air around and set about building the bubble I had been desperately wanting for several years.

 

I am so thrilled to hear how well your wife is doing it gives me great hope for myself, any improvement however small will be so welcome.  We are still some months away from finishing and lots of hurdles still to overcome but I will start the day tomorrow with renewed hope and optimisim for the future in our bubble,

 

Thank you so much for posting this and I wish you and your wife all the very best in your new home....she and I are very lucky ladies to have such caring partners willing to go to these lengths to improve our quailty of life. xx

Hi @lizzie, that is spooky! I only wrote the post because I figured that one day somebody might be facing similar issues and Google may bring them hope. Never for a minute did I expect to find someone on Buildhub already walking the same path, but delighted my post has given you a little lift. Mrs NSS sends her best and says, hang in there, it'll be worth the wait :)

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Excellent news and a real world example of the much improved air quality that mvhr provides.

 

It would be interesting to know which mvhr unit, and is it standard filters or did you specify special filters?

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NSS so glad it’s worked out so well for you both and thanks for letting us all know, I cannot wait to finish my house ( with MVHR) and move in as my health has not been good for years ( mostly stress related) looking forward to living the “good life” in a healthy house with healthy surroundings ( and a healthy state of mind ?),

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3 hours ago, ProDave said:

Excellent news and a real world example of the much improved air quality that mvhr provides.

 

It would be interesting to know which mvhr unit, and is it standard filters or did you specify special filters?

 

Cheers @ProDave. It's a Paul Novus 300 fitted with the optional F7 filters at present. I'd anticipated having to get some F9s but, so far, it seems that may be unnecessary. 

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8 hours ago, NSS said:

Hi @lizzie, that is spooky! I only wrote the post because I figured that one day somebody might be facing similar issues and Google may bring them hope. Never for a minute did I expect to find someone on Buildhub already walking the same path, but delighted my post has given you a little lift. Mrs NSS sends her best and says, hang in there, it'll be worth the wait :)

Thank you its made my week reading your post.  Its not a common condition and people seem don't understand the awfulness of it.  Onwards to my bubble!

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Great result and thanks for sharing it.

 

We have a Novus  450 and F7 Filters  .  Fortunately neither  my wife or I suffer from any kind of breathing difficulties but we do notice the improved air quality and  the almost complete lack of dust in the house.

 

We have changed the inlet filters regularly (every 100 days or so), as we live near a main road. The inlet filters get very dirty, though the extract filters are usually very clean and look as if they will not replacing for full year.  The replacement filters are expensive  - where are you sourcing your filters?  We have tried PAUL Scotland who are competitive in the UK but recently sourced from Holland - TOPS Filters, at a more competitive price when  buying multiple filters. We had some issues with one of the filters but TOPS sent replaced all the order, without any hassle.

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12 hours ago, SteamyTea said:

I used to suffer from childhood asthma, was pretty bad when I was a toddler (scared the hell out of my parents as we lived 1500 miles from nearest hospital).

Luckily we found out that I had an allergy to most 'pets', so avoiding them cured the problem (my mother always had a cat though, and I hate dogs so avoid them anyway).

When I left home and moved to the coast my asthma just cleared up.  Unfortunately university ends (almost) and I had to move back in with parents for a while until I bought my first house.

I was 21 and my asthma came back with a vengeance.

I moved into my own place, an old, damp Victorian terrace, the asthma persisted.  I changed jobs too and was working next to the pattern shop, they used a softwood timber there called gelatin, related to the rubber plant.  In 18 months I had 10 months off work.  Changed jobs and got a lot better (was a lot of detection work to find out it was the timber).

I also moved house, to a more modern, damp and mould free place, and that seemed to help to.

Made up my mind in 1986 that I wanted to live by the coast again, just took me nearly 20 years to do it.

Eventually moved as far west as I could practically go and have not been troubled with asthma since, though I do still get hayfever (which is just an allergy anyway).

My mother is now cat free and staying with her is joy, before it was not.  Her persistent cough seems to have got better as well, though not fully gone.

About 10 years ago I started to get terrible eczema on my hands and arms.  Put it down to a change of washing up liquid at work.  Found out that it was actually fish that was causing it.

I sell a lot of fish, tonnes of the stuff.  I was also eating it 3 or 4 times a week, as we all know how good it is for us and I quite like it.

Because of that, I got a very croaky voice, could hardly speak at one stage.  I was finishing of my second degree at the time and was about to start my teacher training.  Over the following year, I got worse and worse.  I put it down to stress (working full time, studying full time, bad relationship, financial worries, some social isolation, you all know the story).

Eventually I worked out the cause, stopped eating fish and I got a lot better.  I even gave up smoking for a while, but that made no difference except to make me feel stupid and slow.

I think I did some permanent damage to my throat with my fish eating, leaving me with a voice like Bruce Willis, rather than Kenneth Williams.

 

So it comes as no surprise to me that fitting a good ventilation system can markedly improve asthma and other allergy induced breathing problems.  Getting rid of all pets and making sure there is no mould or fungus in the house is good too.  Oh and no wood burners.

I also find that dry air is better for me, so humidity may need to be controlled.

 

Glad to hear you took back up the smoking! Pack a day keeps the doctors away!

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I'm highly allergic to cats according to the doctor. We have two...  ? we just planned the utility and have spaces for the food and litter near the extract vent which will hopefully not only eliminate any smells but helps me - I'm always a wee bit blocked which is probably the cats 

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Some cat breeds are more hypoallergenic than others...

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Cats, dogs, rabbits, horses, in fact just about anything with hair (so just as well i'm bald), dust mites, pollen, grass, trees (in winter and summer), nuts (all), prawns, lobster and even latex (which possibly explains why we had three kids in 19 months ;)), plus a whole bunch of other stuff.

 

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8 hours ago, Onoff said:

Some cat breeds are more hypoallergenic than others...

Except that the allergy is caused by the faeces of the mites that live on the animals.

7 hours ago, NSS said:

Cats, dogs, rabbits, horses, in fact just about anything with hair (so just as well i'm bald), dust mites, pollen, grass, trees (in winter and summer), nuts (all), prawns, lobster and even latex (which possibly explains why we had three kids in 19 months ;)), plus a whole bunch of other stuff.

Not sure about latex, but notice that emulsion paint is irritating my skin now.

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What puzzles me is why we are seemingly getting more people  suffering with allergies.  Apart from hay fever and a few well-known serious allergies, like those to nuts, it seemed pretty rare to come across people that were allergic to things years ago.  Now it seems to be a pretty common problem, with far more people suffering from them.

 

Over the past ten years or so I've developed an allergy to something that only seems to be around during cool, damp, weather.  I've resisted going for patch tests, because by a process of elimination I've concluded that it's probably a mould spore of some kind, perhaps one associated with trees, as the symptoms are definitely worse after a walk in woodland in autumn or spring.  It's not a major problem, but does mean relying on antihistamines if I want to be able to breathe properly and not have constantly running eyes when the spores are about.

 

I can't help but wonder at what the underlying cause is for the seemingly large increase in conditions involving our immune system misbehaving.  I have a suspicion that being too clean, and ensuring clinical levels of cleanliness in our homes, may be a contributory factor.  Perhaps we all need constant, low level exposure to dirt and stuff in order to keep our immune systems functioning properly.

 

I do know that it's damned annoying once you do acquire an allergic reaction to something - right now I'm typing this up under the influence of antihistamines, as last night seemed to be pretty bad for some reason.  The symptoms go away in the new house, almost certainly because of the MVHR I think, so I'm hopeful that I'll end up less dependent on medication when we finally sell this house and move to the new one permanently.

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Part of the reason is that they now know the causes better.  In the past you just got labelled as a 'wheezy child', now, because of better understanding, treatments and GP incentives, it is treatable.  Once you put a label on something, you can treat it for life, the big pharmaceutical companies love that.  Asthma is something that you treat the symptoms of, not the causes, rather hard to recommend 'stop breathing' as the cure.

 

The other reason may well be poor air quality, in the past, when air quality was a lot worse, people just died.  We also have more pets, I think it is something like 50% of households have a cat or dog.  But may have just dreamt that.

 

The jury is out on our clean lifestyle causing problems.  There is some research about some sort of stomach worm not being with us so much these days.

 

We also tend to know a lot more people as we get older.

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3 minutes ago, SteamyTea said:

The jury is out on our clean lifestyle causing problems.  There is some research about some sort of stomach worm not being with us so much these days.

 

Caeserean births / asthma another possible link.

 

I read something about symbiotic parasitic worms having evolved to survive in our gut by turning off or dampening down our immune system.

 

 

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Dr Moseley,s latest book talks about gut biome and natural births, the baby gets a mouthful of mums fluids during the birth which seeds the gut bacteria, this does not happen during a Caesarian births and some doctors advocate a swab of “mum” and given to the child.

 

sorry if your eating ?

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@Onoff makes an interesting point. Here's where @CoopersWMBO rolls her eyes as I strike up my usual two-part rant.

 

1. It's becoming clear that the microscopic fauna we share our bodies with are an important part of our overall health. We evolved with them (and they with us). Not just the gut biome, but also the little fellas living on our skin, in our nasal passages, etc. If this is the case, then modern, overly-clean lifestyles, sanitised, sugar-spiked food, and overuse of antibiotics will inevitably piss all over our health, in so many ways.

 

2. The nature of the wheat in our food has changed fairly radically since about 1970. It's now much easier for farmers to farm -- more consistent and shorter -- but there's some evidence to show that it contains proteins that are sub-clinically harmful to many people. I'm not talking about gluten, although a growing number of people are self-diagnosing as "gluten-intolerant" because they gave up wheat and feel much better -- it's more likely to be intolerance to the new proteins, rather than new intolerance to old ones.

 

Ergo: Consider taking broad-spectrum pro- and pre-biotics after a course of antibiotics, don't wash too much, avoid wheat and sugar.

Edited by richi
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