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Allergy Prevention

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Pollen and Molds Allergy Prevention

Complete avoidance of allergenic pollen or mold means moving to a place where the offending substance does not grow and where it is not present in the air. Even this extreme solution may offer only temporary relief because a person sensitive to a specific pollen or mold may develop allergies to new allergens after repeated exposure to them. For example, people allergic to ragweed may leave their ragweed-ridden communities and relocate to areas where ragweed does not grow, only to develop allergies to other weeds or even to grasses or trees in their new surroundings. Because relocating is not a reliable solution, allergy specialists do not encourage this approach.

Some steps for allergy prevention include

  • Remaining indoors with the windows closed in the morning, for example, when the outdoor pollen levels are highest. Sunny, windy days can be especially troublesome.
  • Wearing a face mask designed to filter pollen out of the air and keeping it from reaching nasal passages, if you must work outdoors.
  • Taking your vacation at the height of the expected pollinating period and choose a location where such exposure would be minimal.

Vacationing at the seashore or on a cruise, for example, may be effective retreats for avoiding pollen allergies.

Dust Mite Allergy Prevention

If you have a dust mite allergy, pay careful attention to dust-proofing your bedroom. The worst things to have in the bedroom are

  • Wall-to-wall carpet
  • Blinds
  • Down-filled blankets
  • Feather pillows
  • Stuffed animals
  • Heating vents with forced hot air
  • Dogs and cats
  • Closets full of clothing

Carpets trap dust and make dust control impossible.

  • Shag carpets are the worst type of carpet for people who are sensitive to dust mites.
  • Vacuuming doesn’t get rid of dust mite proteins in furniture and carpeting, but redistributes them back into the room, unless the vacuum has a special HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter.
  • Rugs on concrete floors encourage dust mite growth.

If possible, replace wall-to-wall carpets with washable throw rugs over hardwood, tile, or linoleum floors, and wash the rugs frequently.

Reducing the amount of dust mites in your home may mean adopting new cleaning techniques as well as some changes in furnishings to eliminate dust collectors. Water is often the secret to effective dust removal.

  • Clean washable items, including throw rugs, often, using water hotter than 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower temperatures will not kill dust mites.
  • Clean washable items at a commercial establishment that uses high water temperature, if you cannot or do not want to set water temperature in your home at 130 degrees. (There is a danger of getting scalded if the water is more than 120 degrees.)
  • Dust frequently with a damp cloth or oiled mop.

If cockroaches are a problem in your home, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests some ways to get rid of them:

  • Do not leave food or garbage out.
  • Store food in airtight containers.
  • Clean all food crumbs or spilled liquids right away.
  • Try using poison baits, boric acid (for cockroaches), or traps first, before using pesticide sprays.

If you use sprays:

  • Do not spray in food preparation or storage areas.
  • Do not spray in areas where children play or sleep.
  • Limit the spray to the infested area.
  • Follow instructions on the label carefully.
  • Make sure there is plenty of fresh air when you spray.
  • Keep the person with allergies or asthma out of the room while spraying.
Animal Allergy Prevention

If you or your child is allergic to furry pets, especially cats, the best way to avoid allergic reactions is to find the pets another home. If you are like most people who are attached to their pets, that is usually not a desirable option. There are ways, however, to help lower the levels of animal allergens in the air, which may reduce allergic reactions.

  • Bathe your cat weekly and brush it more frequently (ideally, a non-allergic person should do this).
  • Keep cats out of your bedroom.
  • Remove carpets and soft furnishings, which collect animal allergens.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner and room air cleaners with HEPA filters.
  • Wear a face mask while house and cat cleaning.

Allergies: Did You Know

Health experts estimate that 35 million Americans suffer from upper respiratory tract symptoms that are allergic reactions to airborne allergens.

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