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Allergies and Asthma

(continued)

What Do I Do If I Have Allergies and Asthma? continued...

Mold and Mildew

  • Air out damp, humid areas frequently. Run a dehumidifier to keep humidity between 35% and 45%.
  • Use air conditioners when possible.
  • Clean bathrooms regularly using products that kill and prevent mold. Use exhaust fans to vent steam. Do not carpet the bathroom.
  • Keep indoor plants out of bedrooms.
  • When painting, add mold inhibitor to paint to prevent mold from growing.
  • Avoid sources of outdoor molds, such as wet leaves or garden debris.
  • To clean visible mold use a cleaning solution containing 5% bleach and a small amount of detergent.

Insects

Many homes and apartments have cockroaches and other insects. Some people with asthma are allergic to a protein in their droppings. To control these allergens in your home:

  • Use roach baits or traps.
  • Insect sprays can be used, but should only be sprayed when no one is at home. Before you or your child returns home after spraying, make sure that your home has been aired out for a couple of hours.
  • Because cockroaches thrive in high humid environment, fix water leaks in and around your home.
  • Cover food in lidded or sealed containers. Clean dishes after eating. Sweep floors after you have eaten.

Pollen

Pollen is a tiny egg shaped cell from flowering plants. Pollens are difficult to avoid because they cannot be eliminated from the atmosphere. Plants have different periods of pollination, which varies little from year to year. Yet, the type of weather affects the amount of pollen in the air with hot, dry, and windy weather causing more pollen in the air. In general pollen season starts from February to October.

You can lessen your or your child's exposure to pollen by:

  • Limiting your or your child's outdoor activities during times of high pollen, such as early morning.
  • Staying indoors during dry or windy days when pollen counts are high.
  • Keeping windows closed during pollen seasons.
  • Using air conditioning if possible.

Pet Dander

  • It is best not to own any pets if you or your child is highly allergic to pet dander.
  • Long visits to friends and family who own pets should be avoided. If you do visit, make sure you or your child takes asthma or allergy medicines before the visit. Exposure to the pets should be kept to a minimum when visiting.
  • If you must have a cat or dog in the home, restrict its living area. It should not be allowed in your or your child's bedroom at any time. If possible, keep the pet outside.
  • Wash your pet weekly.
  • Remove as much carpeting as possible. Animal dander deposits in the carpet and stays there, even after the pet is gone from the home.

Food Allergies
If you have allergies, avoiding food triggers can be challenging. It is important to always read food labels and, when dining out, ask how foods are prepared.

Consider Allergy Shots
You can train your immune system to not overreact to allergy triggers. Doctors do this by giving you allergy shots (immunotherapy) for asthma. An allergy shot is a small amount of the substance that causes your allergy. By giving repeated shots of the substance over a period of time, your immune system eventually stops causing the allergic reaction. Ask your doctor if you are a candidate for allergy shots for preventing asthma.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on July 10, 2012
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