Allergy Fighting Tips
Along with the changing of the seasons comes pollen, which can trigger allergies in many people.
But there are common indoor irritants, such as dust mites and pet dander, that can cause allergies
all year round. Symptoms for both seasonal and perennial allergies include stuffy or runny nose,
watery eyes, congestion, sneezing, hives, and itchy eyes, nose, or mouth.
Allergies and allergy medications can affect blood glucose levels, so your goal should be to
prevent symptoms before they start. Here are some tips for avoiding common allergens.
Dust mites are microscopic animals that can cause irritation and itching. They live in bedding,
pillows, and mattresses. The best way to avoid dust mites is to encase pillows and mattresses in
dust mite allergen covers.
You should also wash your sheets in hot water (130° F) every week. Blankets and comforters
should be washed once or twice a month. Decorative pillows and stuffed animals also harbor dust
mites. If they can't be machine washed, place them in the freezer for 24-48 hours, then handwash
in soapy water.
Dust mites also live in carpets. If possible, replace wall-to-wall carpets with washable throw rugs
over hardwood, tile, or linoleum floors. Wash the rugs frequently in hot water and mop the floors
with a damp cloth. Vacuum regularly with a machine that has a high-efficiency particulate air
(HEPA) filter. Regular vacuums only serve to redistribute mites throughout the room.
Cockroaches are another common trigger of allergies. They can usually be found in the kitchen,
where food and water sources are present. It is important to keep the kitchen clean. Keep all food
in sealed containers, frequently clean the counters and floor, and empty garbage cans regularly.
Using bait traps in cabinets and behind the fridge may also be useful.
Many people are allergic to furry animals such as cats or dogs. Pet dander is animal saliva and
dead skin, and it can trigger allergies. Particles of pet dander are very small and can be inhaled
deep into the lungs. If you are allergic to your cat or dog, the most effective thing to do is remove
the pet from your home, but this is often the least desirable option. Fortunately, there are other
ways to reduce pet dander in your home.
To reduce allergy symptoms caused by pet dander, keep your pet out of your bedroom. Bathe
your cat or dog at least once a week and wipe it with a wet cloth or towel daily. If possible,
remove wall-to-wall carpets, which collect animal allergens. Use vacuums and room air cleaners
that have HEPA filters.
Pet dander can remain in house dust long after your pet has gone, so it is important to steam clean
carpets and upholstered furniture. You should also vacuum hard wood floors and wipe down all
other hard surfaces and furniture.
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