Nasal allergies can have symptoms like a cold -- watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and congestion -- that just won’t seem to go away. If your reaction to pollen, mold, dust, or pets is severe enough, it can change your day-to-day life.
But you can do things to stifle your sniffles. Start with these ideas from allergist James L. Sublett, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
Coughing, sneezing, itching, wheezing -- kids with allergies face a lot of miserable symptoms. And, your child's triggers may change over time. Sudden weather changes also can make symptoms flare.
Learn what triggers your child's allergies now, at least, and get serious about avoiding them. These tips can help you improve your child's breathing and quality of life.
Learn Your Child's Allergy Triggers
Write down what causes your child's symptoms:
It should be your fortress, a ship on the angry sea of nasal allergies. If you're allergic to pollen, keep the outdoors out.
Shut the windows and crank the air conditioning no matter how nice the weather. Sublett says it might also be a good idea to put a filtration system in the furnace and AC to screen out allergens.
Next, if you have the budget for a big change, he recommends you get rid of as much upholstery and carpet as possible. Replace it with hardwoods and smooth surfaces where a wet rag or mop can easily pick up dust or pet hair.
Mold can show up inside your home, too. Keep bathrooms clean and dry. Be quick to repair and seal leaking pipes or roofs. Damp basements may need a dehumidifier, but be sure to empty them regularly.
Take special care to allergy-proof your bedroom. Avoid down-filled pillows or comforters, a favorite of dust mites. Use zippered, hypoallergenic covers for pillows and mattresses.
2. Keep Fido at Bay
It’s a plot made for tragedy: Woman loves man. Woman is allergic to man’s dog. Sublett says this drama doesn’t have to end in heartbreak -- or a sinus headache.
First, make sure you're actually allergic to your partner's other best friend. “I see it in patients fairly frequently,” Sublett says. “They come in and tell me, ‘It must be my dog.’ It may not be.” It could be another allergen or even another animal. “You can pick up animal allergens from different places, other houses, people’s clothes.”
If you know it's Fido that’s making your nose run, it’s a good idea to mark your territory. “At minimum, keep them out of the bedroom,” Sublett says. “Definitely off the bed.”