It is well known that allergens cause a number of health issues including congestion, runny noses, and [especially] sneezing. Although it is easy to control these issues with certain OTC or prescribed medications, the key is to eliminate or reduce these allergens before the health issues arise and avoid their reoccurrence in the future. If you or your other family members are sensitive to the many allergens that are floating around in the air throughout the year, it makes sense to do everything possible to reduce or eliminate them altogether.
In a recent American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAI) publication, it was estimated that 1 out of every 4, or 25%, of all Americans suffer with a number of respiratory conditions including allergies and asthma. If you are allergic to animal dander, dust mites, mold, or a combination of the three, there are several precautionary steps that you can take to avoid suffering during the different allergy seasons throughout the year. The following tips will help you reduce the number of symptoms you normally suffer with during the year or the severity of the ones you are currently suffering with.
Identify exactly what you are allergic to - the first step to eliminating or reducing your allergy symptoms is to identify what is causing your allergies. You will have to consult with a physician in order to identify your different allergies. The physician may be one of the following specialists:
- Dermatologist - treats a wide variety of skin allergies
- Ophthalmologist - offers the treatment of burning and itching eyes that result from seasonal allergies
- Otolaryngologist - specializes in treating allergies and sinus problems
Armed with the knowledge that the above medical professionals can offer you, you can greatly reduce the number of allergens entering your home and hopefully eliminate some as well. Additionally, the two suggestions that follow will enable you to reduce the number of allergens that enter the home and negatively affect those individuals living in it. You will also be able to reduce your suffering and theirs in the process.
Keep doors and windows shut as often as possible - although you may need to open up your home in order to air it out once in a while, the downside is that you will be letting in a lot of allergens when you do. Mold and pollen spores can easily travel through screened doors and windows so you should try to keep them closed as often as you can.
Control humidity levels within the home - this helps to keep mold growth to a minimum. In more humid climates, mold growth runs rampant and it is extremely difficult to control. Try to maintain a humidity level 50% or lower within the home. If you have a basement, consider purchasing a dehumidifier to control the humidity level in that space. Remember to clean basements, bathrooms, and kitchens regularly as these are the main areas of the home where humidity levels typically increase. If you have houseplants, you might want to consider relocating the hardier varieties outdoors as these tend to harbor mold.
If you can, install a whole house air filtration system in your home. If you do not have the budget for that kind of investment, be sure to replace the air filters of your HVAC system every month. Not only will this help to trap allergens and keep them from affecting those individuals that are sensitive to them, your heating and A/C will operate much more cost-effectively and efficiently. Finally, as dust mites are a huge problem in some areas of the US, consider purchasing allergen-impermeable covers and encasing your mattress and pillows.