Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Allergies and Asthma: Must Know Facts

Comedian Robin Williams once said that “spring is nature’s way of saying Let’s Party!” However, if you or someone in your family suffers from seasonal allergies, it could seem like the only chance you get to socialize with others is in the waiting area at your family physician’s office.

Instead of the usual small talk and other banter you hear at normal social events, you are bound to hear a healthy amount of “Gesundheit”s and “bless you”s, or maybe even a “salud” or two. And even if your doctor prescribes medicine to eliminate your symptoms, it still doesn't eliminate the fact that your home could be filled with allergens.

Drying Out Seasonal Allergens
Removing mold from your home will go a long way towards reducing allergy symptoms. Although it’s not always possible to remove allergens from your home, mold is easier to avoid than most would think. Because of the moisture in your bathroom from people taking showers or baths and the fact that a toilet filled with water is in the room all the time, consider some kind of exhaust fan or other ventilation.
Basements are notorious for leaks, especially in the spring when melting snows and extra rainfall saturates the ground. In addition to sealing up cracks and using non-carpeted floor coverings like ceramic tile, cork, or linoleum, place a dehumidifier in the basement to help dry up the moisture. An air purifier is also a great idea because it pulls pollen, pet dander, and dust, and other particles from the air.

Turning Allergy Season into Neat Freak Season 
 If you’re obsessive about cleaning then you are your family’s best asset during seasonal allergy season. If you can’t remove the carpeting inside your home – for example, if your home is a rental – then consider investing in a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filtration. The importance of HEPA filtration is that it’s designed to capture some of the most minuscule particles that cause some of the worst allergy symptoms. Here are some other cleaning tips to consider for eliminating allergens from your home.

Wash bedding linens. Yes, you already do this but now you need to wash them a bit more frequently. And regardless of how nice your sheets smell after hanging on a clothesline and drying from the sun’s warmth, it’s not really worth the amount of pollen you bring into your home and subsequently breathe in while you sleep. 

Clean furniture. In addition to dusting down wood furniture with furniture polish, vacuum upholstered furniture. If necessary, send cushion covers out to be dry cleaned. It’s a huge step towards removing mildew, dust, pollen, and pet dander from your home.

Eliminate curtains. Just stick with mini-blinds or some other type of shade-style window treatment. When cleaning windows, don’t forget to wipe dust from the sills.

Speaking of windows, it’s necessary to keep them closed as much as possible from just before midnight to just after lunch. That’s because most pollen product begins just before dawn – before many of us are even awake – and doesn't end until mid-morning. Saving open windows for sunny afternoons and brisk evenings will help cut down on the amount of pollen that enters your home, but keeping them closed altogether is even better. It could even save on the amount of hay fever treatments you’re subject to during the season.

Stay Hydrated but Not Humid 
One of the best tips for fighting off allergy and asthma symptoms, and even the first signs of sinusitis or a cold, is to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. If you must drink something flavored, drink juice or something else that’s loaded with vitamins – especially vitamin C. Stay away from soda, coffee, and anything else that’s bogged down with empty calories and caffeine.

One time an acquaintance gave my family some terrible advice. They suggested we use a humidifier at night, claiming that we’d wake up breathing free and clear of any allergy and asthma symptoms. It was the worst advice ever! Not only did we wake up in worse health requiring the entire family to visit the doctor’s office, but we also had the added problem that the humidifier encouraged mold growth underneath the carpet in our hallway. We've since replaced that carpeting with hardwood laminate flooring, but it was a real nightmare.

Screening Your Home for Allergies 
If all else fails, considering hiring an environmental solutions company to screen your home for allergens. Once they let you know which allergens have invaded your home you will better know how to remove them. Pollen isn't the only culprit. Pets bring in fleas during the warmer months. Did you know people can be allergic to fleas? Thanks to a stray kitten that showed up on our doorstep and was too cute not to bring in the house, my family now knows all about flea allergy dermatitis. The itching and rash we attributed to pollen or perhaps the cat itself was really a reaction to the fleas. You will want to start by eliminating dust mites which can also cause a lot of problems.

If you suspect that you suffer from some kind of a seasonal allergy, then it’s best to consult your family physician. In addition to giving you a correct diagnosis, your doctor has your complete medical history and knows what medicines to diagnose to fix the problem. This is important because some over-the-counter products conflict with conditions such as heart and thyroid problems, diabetes, or with other medications you’re taking.

Carolina Monroe Written by: Carolina
Way To Be Healthy Updated at: 9:21 PM


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