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19 Tips to Avoiding Allergens That Aren't Exactly Fun to Follow
by Rick Frea Wednesday, June 10, 2009 @ HealthCentral.com
Well, the warm weather has finally arrived, and so has the urge to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Yet, while we asthma & allergy sufferers try to be normal, we often find ourselves a-a-achoooo-ing our way through the season.
Like many of you, I've been dealing with dreaded allergies my entire life. Perhaps you can relate to this: I'm on all the awesome new meds such as Singulair and Claritin, yet those dreaded allergens still find a way to wreak havoc. Oh, and yes, I tried allergy shots and they didn't help me.
So, since 70% of asthmatics have allergies, I did some research and came up with 19 tips we asthma and allergy sufferers should follow to ease the effects of seasonal allergies:
- Exercise indoors whenever possible.
- If you can't resist exercising outdoors, at least try to stay away from trees and shrubs and exercise when the pollen counts are lower (sometimes, that's in the afternoon).
- Swallow your pride and have someone else cut the grass.
- If you do decide to cut the grass, wear a mask over your mouth and nose.
- Either way, your grass should be mowed often.
- Keep your gutters clear of leaves and soot. Gunked up gutters are a good place for mold to grow.
- Avoid working in the garden as this will expose you to molds. If you MUST work in the garden, wear a hat, gloves and goggles (which will also protect you from sunburn).
- Avoid raking the leaves as this will expose you to molds. Have someone without allergies do it!
- After doing any outdoor work, take a shower and change clothes when finished or, at least wash your hands to prevent the spread of pollen and molds.
- Ideally you should avoid carpets and rugs (or get rid of them if you have them), however, if you do have them, vaccum oftenwith a HEPA-filter equipped vaccum.
- Use a HEPA filter to purify the air inside your home.
- Keep the windows shut, especially in the morning.
- If you do open windows, do not use a fan as this will blow in more pollen.
- Keep the air conditioning or dehumidifier on to keep the house cool and to filter out allergy triggers.
- Keep dust covers over mattresses and pillows to protect yourself from dust mites
- Avoid clutter in your house (especially bedroom) to limit dust buildup.
- Keep your pets out of the house.
- Wash your pet once a week
- If you allow pets in your home, at least keep them out of your bedroom and most certainly off your bed.
- Avoid other poeple's pets (however cute they are).
Okay, that's enough. Most allergy experts recommend you do everything on that list to prevent or minimize allergies. Still, if there's anyone in the world who does all that, I commend them -- because I don't.
I'm good with the pet part, because I'm a lousy pet owner and don't have any. My daughter loves doggies, so I let her play with the neigbor's dogs. Since I work in a hospital, I'm good with washing my hands. The rest of the stuff on that list I'm not so good with.
I feel guilty (or lazy) having my wife cut the grass, so I do it myself. Same with the garden. Sometimes I wear a mask, but it gets awful hot and sweaty under there. Frequently I shower when finished, but sometimes I'm too exhausted.
I would jog on the treadmill, but I do that all winter and simply love getting out of the house now that the weather is nice. I can't afford air conditioning, and just love a warm breeze, so the windows are always open. Umm, and since I work nights, I often sleep with a fan in the window.
Sorry folks, I'm not
Short of a cure, we at least have some tips to lessen the effect of seasonal allergens on our sanity -- if we so choose to accept the challenge.