Apr 15, 2012

Tips for Allergy Sufferers

More than 40 million Americans suffer from nasal allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
The AAFA says your nose knows when spring is near, because that's when pollen counts are highest and symptoms begin for many Americans.

"Springtime allergy triggers - primarily tree pollen - cause symptoms including itchy runny nose, nasal and sinus congestion, repeated sneezing, watery eyes, inflamed sinuses and, in severe cases, difficulty breathing due to all of these symptoms," the AAFA explained. "Nasal allergy symptoms can be even more problematic if you also have asthma."

Control dust mites: Keep home surfaces clean and uncluttered. Bare floors and walls are best, particularly in the bedroom where you spend one-third of your time. If you must have carpet, throw rugs that can be washed or low-pile carpets are better.

The single most important method is to put zippered allergen impermeable or plastic covers on all pillows, mattresses and box springs. Encasing mattresses works better than air cleaners to reduce allergy symptoms.

Vacuum weekly: Vacuuming helps keep allergens at bay. But poor-quality vacuums could put dust into the air, so look for asthma & allergy friendly certified devices with a HEPA filter. If you have allergies, wear a dust mask while doing housework and leave the house for several hours after cleaning it.

Prevent animal dander: Most doctors suggest that people allergic to animal dander not keep household pets with feathers or fur. To test the effect of pets on your allergies, go on a long vacation away from areas where pets have been, since pet dander can stay around a home for months - even after the pet is gone.

If you still want pets, bring a pet into the house, measure the change in your symptoms, then decide if keeping the pet is worthwhile. If you decide to keep a pet, bar it from the bedroom and keep the door closed. Also cover vents with dense material like cheesecloth.

Prevent entry of pollen by keeping windows and doors closed: Air conditioning in warm weather is best and also helps control dust mites by reducing humidity. Change filters often in window units.
Avoid mold spores: Reduce moisture around the bathroom, kitchen and other water areas of the home. Dehumidifiers will help reduce both mold and dust mites. Limit yourself to a few house plants. Fix all leaks and other causes of damp areas. Clean moldy surfaces. Rid the yard of moldy firewood and piles of leaves and weeds.

Control cockroaches: Don't leave food or garbage uncovered. Use poison baits, boric acid and traps instead of chemical agents that can irritate rhinitis and asthma.

If you are feeling miserable and need help, don't hesitate to see your doctor.



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