If you suffer from allergies or asthma then you probably have felt at times like they control your life. Having to avoid situations where allergens exist can prove difficult. Not to mention that all the cleaning necessary to try and keep allergens like dust and pet dander from taking up residence in your home can be a full-time job in itself. Once your house is clean, you might find yourself avoiding going outdoors altogether. However, just because you suffer from allergies or asthma doesn’t mean you have to be a victim.
Allergy symptoms range from mild to severe. Mild symptoms include the itching associated with a slight rash, congestion, sneezing, and dry, itchy, watery eyes. Symptoms fall into the moderate category when breaking becomes difficult or the rash spreads to something akin to full-blown hives. And severe symptoms include various degrees of swelling, abdominal pains, vomiting, dizziness and mental confusion. Meanwhile asthma symptoms vary depending on the type. For instance, some common symptoms are wheezing, shortness of breath, a tightening in the chest, and coughing – especially coughing at night.
Allergy Triggers – From Pets to Pollen
In the popular children’s book series by Lemony Snicket the advice is given that, “If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth – particularly if the thing is cats.” While putting a cat into one’s mouth is a silly idea, there’s nothing silly about pet allergies or the fact that pets could trigger an asthma attack. Here is a list of popular triggers, but it is in no way complete as different people can be allergic to different things, or different combinations of things.
- Dust mites – Dust mites are found everywhere and are the most common type of allergen. Regular dusting, vacuuming and washing of bedding and curtains can help. There are special covers you can buy to cover your mattress which is considered very helpful when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.
- Pollen - A necessary item for fertilizing plants and flowers, but not for people with allergies. Keeping windows closed, using air conditioning instead of fans, using a drying instead of line drying clothing and not raking leaves are some ways you can keep your exposure to pollen lower. In some cases it could eliminate the need for treatment for a ragweed allergy.
- Pet dander - You don’t even have to own a pet to have their dander around since it travels in the air and gets everywhere. You can bring dander into your home on your shoes if other people’s pets have been in your yard! Staying away from pets, vacuuming with a HEPA filter, cleaning and changing your air filters regularly can help keep the dander at bay.
- Smoke – Have a smoke free home and stay away from anyone who is smoking. If someone in your home is a smoker, encourage them to limit the activity to a designated smoking area, like a specific area of the yard.
- Mold - Mold will grow wherever there is enough moisture, whether outside or inside. Keeping away from places it can grow outside (piles of leaves, garbage cans, etc) is one way to avoid it. Keeping the inside of your home clean checking for any areas that may have moisture (leaking sink, bathroom floors, etc) is a way to avoid it inside.
- Chemicals - Chemicals are found in most things. Avoiding them all can be difficult, but cutting down your exposure is easily done. Replace carpeting with tiles or wood floors. Wash all linens – clothes, curtains, bed sheets, etc. – after you buy them. Buy organic cleaners or, better yet, make your own from ingredients commonly found in your pantry like vinegar or baking soda.
Eliminate Triggers to Eliminate Symptoms
Avoiding allergens can be difficult, but it is not impossible. Some are simple, such as having a smoke-free home. Having an air purifier in your home can also provide relief from allergens, even if you have pets with long hair like Persian cats or a golden retriever. When the allergens, like pet dander, are allowed to spread around on their own then it gets a little tougher to avoid them. However, you can still do things to lessen their spreading. Keeping pets out of your bedroom will go a long way towards keeping your night allergy free. Making sure that your pet is regularly bathed and groomed will cut down on the pet dander as well.
About the Author:
Mark Harris is a freelance writer who works from his own home. Therefore, he knows all too well how important it is to eliminate as many allergens as possible. He uses sites like http://www.avoid-nasal-allergies.com to learn the best ways to avoid allergies, especially since his enthusiasm for outdoor activities makes him a primary culprit for brining pollen into his home. When he isn’t writing he enjoys hiking the coastline around his home in western Canada or kayaking the surrounding waterways.