Allergy can be described as a malfunction of the human immune system causing a violent reaction against normally harmless substances in our natural environment. In this context, such substances are generally referred to as “allergens”. The reaction creates an inflammation which, in turn, can lead to a variety of symptoms such as hay fever, eczema, asthma and other conditions popularly referred to as allergies.
Air Conditioning and Allergies
To help alleviate problems with pollen, molds and dust mites, air condition your house and car and, if possible, add an air cleaner to your central air conditioner.
Anaphylactic shock, the most severe allergic reaction, is most commonly associated with bee or fire ant stings. If welts (hives) erupt following a sting, this is a warning flag to seek prompt medical attention.
Don’t use your attic fan during allergy season. The fan sucks pollen into the house.
Avoid dyes, especially the ones in toilet paper. Use white to wipe.
Bedding and Dust Mites
If dust mites give you trouble, seal your mattress, box springs and pillows in allergy-resistant plastic covers available at most discount stores.
Carpeting Causes Allergy Problems
Allergy experts recommend you dump the carpeting and use throw rugs instead. Since most people enjoy a carpeted home, try the new allergy care carpet treatments now available.
Clean humid areas, such as the bathroom and basement, with a fungicide (mold-killer). A cheap and effective one is bleach. Use a solution of 3/4 cup bleach to one gallon of water, let stand 5 minutes and rinse.
Choose Antiperspirants Carefully
Aluminum chloride, aluminum sulfate and zirconium chlorohydrate in antiperspirants often cause dermatitis, especially after shaving. Try to choose antiperspirants that contain the anti-irritants allantoinate, zinc oxide, magnesium oxide, aluminum hydroxide, or triethanolamine.
Cold Compresses for Allergy Relief
Are your allergy eyes giving you fit? Try a cold compress for 15-20 minutes. Wet a washcloth with cold water and place over your eyes.
Common Allergens and Allergy Symptoms
A listing of common allergens: pollen, mold spores, dust mites, animal dander, feathers, foods, medications, and insect stings. Common allergy symptoms: watery, itchy eyes, sneezing, and a constant runny nose.
The most common pollens causing allergies include: tree pollens (April – May), grasses (June – July) and ragweed (August – October).
Dandruff and Shampoo Dyes
Dandruff sufferers may be allergic to the dyes in the shampoo they use. Even dandruff remedy shampoos often contain dyes.
Decongestants and Blood Pressure
If you are hypertensive, over-the-counter decongestants are a big no-no. Decongestants raise blood pressure and can lead to heart attack or stroke.
Dehumidifier and Allergies
Keep the humidity in your home below 45%. To measure the humidity level, buy an inexpensive hygrometer available at many discount stores.
Driving and Antihistamines
Antihistamines often cause drowsiness and should not be taken if driving or operating machinery.
Drug Treatment for Allergies
The over-the-counter antihistamine diphenhydramine (Benadryl) works well for allergy treatment and has few drug interactions. Be sure to read the label for proper dosage, side effects, etc. and check with your doctor if you have any questions.
Wear a face mask when doing chores that are most likely to expose you to allergens like vacuuming and gardening. You can buy face masks at a hardware store.
Even though fall temperatures are mild, keep windows closed and use air conditioning to reduce allergy problems. Air conditioning filters out pollen and keeps humidity low, which keeps indoor mold down.
Hay Fever vs. Sinusitis
Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is caused by allergies and is often characterized by a runny nose, sneezing and congestion, and itchy eyes, nose, throat and inner ears. Non-allergic rhinitis (sinusitis) is characterized by a swollen, inflamed nasal lining and a stuffy nose. It may be triggered by irritants such as smoke, changes in barometric pressure or temperature, or overuse of over-the-counter decongestant nasal sprays.
Hidden Sources of Peanuts
Hidden peanut sources may include:
Artificial nuts can be peanuts that have been deflavored and reflavored with a nut, such as pecan or walnut. Mandelonas are peanuts soaked in almond flavoring.
Arachis oil is peanut oil.
It is advised that peanut-allergic patients avoid chocolate candies unless they are absolutely certain there is no risk of cross-contact during manufacturing procedures.
African, Chinese, Indonesian, Mexican, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes often contain peanuts, or are contaminated with peanuts during preparation of these types of meals. Additionally, foods sold in bakeries and ice cream shops are often in contact with peanuts. It is recommended that peanut-allergic individuals avoid these types of foods and restaurants.
Many brands of sunflower seeds are produced on equipment shared with peanuts.
If you have severe allergies to laundry products, try using baking soda to wash your clothing and linens.
Mites and Mattress Pads
Wash your mattress pads weekly in hot water to kill dust mites.
Don’t be tempted to treat an allergy with an over-the-counter decongestant nasal spray for more than three days. After a few days of use you may get a “rebound” effect, and your nose may become even more congested than before. These drugs are more useful for short-term use to relieve nasal congestion associated with a cold.
No Open Windows
If you’re an allergy sufferer do not ride in a vehicle with the windows down or vents wide open. It will worsen your allergies 200 percent. The same goes for your home. Invest in an air conditioner.
One Room Sanctuary
If central air conditioning isn’t an option for you, make your bedroom your sanctuary. Install a window air conditioner, properly care for your bedding and keep the door closed at all times.
Pets, Bedrooms and Allergies
Pet dander is a common allergen, especially cat dander. To ease the suffering that Fido or Fluffy may cause you, ban them from your bedroom at all times.
Preventing a More Severe Peanut Allergy Reaction
In one of seven studies published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers say liquid charcoal, which is often used when people ingest poison to block absorption, can also absorb peanuts.
“After you’ve eaten the peanut and you have an allergic reaction, you still have peanut in your stomach,” explained Dr. Donald Leung, editor of the journal. “And so rather than allow further peanut to be absorbed and have an even more severe reaction … drinking the charcoal will prevent the further triggering of increased symptoms.”
Leung advised that parents of young children with the allergy keep liquid charcoal — available in pharmacies — in the home, in case of accidental ingestion.
Problems with ragweed, the most common weed pollen, usually start in the middle of August and continue until the frost begins. Interestingly, some regions are less affected than others: The West coast does not have any ragweed.
Dust mites like synthetic pillows as much as down or foam ones, but synthetic pillows have the major advantage of being washable in hot water which kills the mites.
Trees that can cause seasonal allergy symptoms include: maple, ash, oak, elm, birch and cedar. When they pollinate depends on the area in which you live.