Your Complete Plan for Moderate to Severe Allergies
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When everyone else has spring fever, are you bothered by hay fever and indoor allergies? If so, it's time to take action against allergies. Get started today with these ways to curb your allergy symptoms.
Your home is your castle -- except when you’re allergic to it. A recent nationwide survey found that over half of all Americans test positive for at least some allergens, and many of these are indoor allergies such as dust, mold, and pet dander.
How can you allergy-proof your home to make it a refuge, not a source of sneezes? Take a tour of your house from room to room, find out where the allergens are lurking, and get relief from indoor allergies.
As the weather gets warmer, pollens and molds float into the air. If you have seasonal allergies, check your local pollen forecast in case you need to limit your outdoor time on high-count days.
2. Protect your bed.
You spend a third to half your life in your bedroom, so make sure allergens like dust mites don't, too. If you've had your pillow and mattress for several years, replace them. Encase new ones in allergen-proof covers that zip closed. Keep pets and clothes you wear outside out of the bedroom.
3. Flirt with a new floor.
If you have carpet now, you may want to look into switching to hardwood, tile, or linoleum floors. They’re easier to clean and aren't a haven for allergens. When you clean them, use a damp mop, since sweeping just stirs up allergens.
4. Wear oversized sunglasses.
Jackie Onassis did. Audrey Hepburn did. You should, too -- at least when pollen counts are high. Especially on windy days, big sunglasses will help keep pollen out of your eyes.
5. Let the dogs out.
The best way to minimize allergies from pets is to keep them outside most of the time. If you can't keep your pets outside, limit them to one or two rooms of the house. Pets can also carry allergens on their coats, so clean their fur and paws before they come inside.
6. Bathe Fido and Fluffy.
There is really no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog or cat. Both cats and dogs spread allergens in their dander (dead skin cells), urine, and saliva. Bathe and brush your four-legged friend regularly -- that may curb your pet allergies.
7. Stroll after sundown.
On peak pollen days, experts recommend you stay indoors while the sun's up, when pollen counts are higher. Instead, ride your bike, walk, or run in the evening. Shower when you come back home.
8. Trap trouble.
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters trap allergens. Clean carpets in your home once a week with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter.
Do you have central heating and air conditioning? Put these filters on the vents.
9. See a pro.
If you’ve tried over-the-counter allergy meds and need more relief, an allergist can dig deeper into what causes your allergy and how severe it is. She can also set you up with a more advanced treatment plan, which may include prescription medicines or allergy shots.
American Academy of Family Physicians: "Allergies: Things You Can Do to Control Your Symptoms."
Talal M. Nsouli, MD, director, Watergate and Burke Allergy and Asthma Centers; consultant, White House Medical Office; Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Allergy/Immunology, Georgetown University School of Medicine.
WebMD Medical Reference: "Understanding Allergy and Hay Fever Medications."