April Allergies Week 3
4

April Allergy Kit: Allergy Prevention

April Allergy Kit Allergy Prevention

By: Krysten C.

Now that you hopefully know the basics behind allergies after April Allergy Week 1: Allergies 101 of our Allergy Kit, let’s take a look at allergy prevention.

What should I do to deal with common allergens?

As listed last week, some common allergens include: dust mites, indoor mold, pet dander, and pollen. But, what do you do about these allergens?

Dust mites are the smaller cousin of the spider. They can be found living in bedding, carpets, mattresses, and upholstery. They live off a diet of skin flakes from people and pets and enjoy warm and humid environments (lovely, aren’t they?). The problem with dust mites is that they can never be completely eliminated. Don’t give in to them though; reduction will help you and/or your loved ones with allergies.

Indoor allergens include all of the other listed allergens. The problem with indoor allergens is that they are in your home, living with you.

Pet dander can be a killer for some people. Most pet allergies stem from proteins in oil glands and saliva. These proteins from oil glands then shed as dander and the saliva sticks to fur when animals lick themselves. Even if you don’t have pets, they can be present in your home from visitors with pets.

Pollen seems to get worse each year. Common pollens include: grass, tree, and ragweed pollen.Pollen is easily carried from one place to another in the air, by person and pet. Pollen counts can be found on local weather websites.

Preventative Measures

  • Indoor
    • Get a filter.
      • Furnace filters and air filters will greatly improve your indoor air quality.
      • Consider a HEPA filter.
      • Equip vacuum cleaners and air conditioners with a double-layered micro-filter bag or a HEPA filter.
    • Dehumidifiers and air conditioners help humidity levels stay under 50%.
    • Dust-proof or allergen impermeable covers can protect mattresses, pillow cases, and most importantly you.
    • Wash blankets, sheets, pillow cases, and furniture covers once a week in hot water to kill dust mites.
    • As strange as it sounds, unwashable material can be frozen over night to kill dust mites.
    • Don’t dry dust. Use a damp towel to dust so as not to stir dust that then places itself elsewhere.
    • Dust and vacuum often.
    • Equip vacuum cleaners and air conditioners with a double-layered microfilter bag or a HEPA filter, which will trap dust mites and other allergens in your carpet and air.
    • Wash up. After playing with your or other animals, wash your hands and clothes. If nothing else, keep your dirty hands away from your eyes and nose.
    • Keep windows closed in your home and car.
    • Dry clothes in an automatic dryer or place on a clothes rack inside.
  • Pets
    • Stay clear from dirty/soiled cages and kennels.
    • Bathe pets weekly, if possible.
    • If necessary, consider removing pets from your home or keep them away from bedrooms and carpeted areas.
  • Outdoors
    • Avoid high pollen areas and times.
      • Pollen counts tend to be higher between 5 and 10 a.m.
      • Dry, hot, windy weather and areas kick pollen levels up.
      • Wooded areas are prone to high pollen levels.
    • Consider hiring lawn services.
    • If you’re considering planting trees in your yard, The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences suggests picking a species that is more allergy friendly such as “crape myrtle, dogwood, fig, fir, palm, pear, plum, redbud and redwood trees or the female cultivars of ash, box elder, cottonwood, maple, palm, poplar or willow trees.”
  • Other Culprits
    • Smoke is not only horrible for your lungs, but also for your allergies. Do you smoke? Find reasons to kick the habit.
    • Mold is a big time foe of allergies. Keeping kitchen areas clean and humidity levels under control will greatly help protect you against mold.
    • Bugs. They are gross, and carry lots of allergens along with them, wherever they go. Squash this problem with environmentally friendly pesticides  or consider hiring a terminator for big bug problems.

Making the big move

The best way to stop allergies is to prevent them. This is why you should consider areas of high allergy potential when picking a place to rest your head. While moving to another region can’t cure allergies, it may help by reducing allergen exposure. Here are some places you may want to steer clear from:

Top Allergy Cities By Map

Start taking some preventative steps to helping you and your loved ones fight allergy season and stay tuned for April Allergy Kit Week 3: Allergy Treatment.

Sources:

1: NIEHS http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/conditions/asthma/allergens/index.cfm

2: AAFA http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=33

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