Part 1: Understanding the Allergy Basics
Whether you suffer from seasonal allergies or indoor allergies to dust mites, molds and pet dander, you may be regularly faced with allergy symptoms such as congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing or more. You may experience allergy symptoms while outside as a result of seasonal allergies. Or, your allergic reactions can come about due to exposure to indoor allergens while cleaning, coming into contact with pets or even while sleeping! In order to understand the secret to living with allergies, you must educate yourself about allergic triggers, environmental controls and what causes your allergy symptoms. As Part 1 of the Allergy Control Products series on The Secrets to Living with Allergies, learn some time-tested allergen avoidance steps toward living a healthier life that is free of allergy symptoms.
Step 1: Diagnose the Allergy Triggers that Cause Your Allergy Symptoms
Any allergy sufferer knows the misery that can be caused by allergy symptoms such as congestion, runny nose, headache, watery eyes, sneezing, itching, rash and even severe symptoms such as asthmatic reactions. What some allergy sufferers don’t fully know is what may be triggering their allergies, and the key to managing these symptoms is diagnosing precisely what causes allergic reactions. It may be surprising that many allergy sufferers who have mild allergy symptoms may not be able to pinpoint what they are allergic to. Without consulting with a physician to understand the nature of their allergies, these allergy sufferers are unable to proactively control their allergies.
In some cases, identifying allergy triggers is easy. For instance, if you sneeze and have trouble breathing when around cats, it’s likely that you have a pet allergy. Certain food allergies, contact with allergen sources or exposure to obvious allergy sources (such as dusty or moldy rooms) may also be easy to identify. However, many people are unaware that they can come into daily contact with large allergen sources throughout the home that cause or worsen their allergy symptoms. Understanding your sensitivity and resulting allergy reactions to these indoor allergens can have a profound impact on alleviating your allergy symptoms.
For the best understanding of your specific allergies, see your physician or allergist for allergy testing. A skin test may be performed in order to determine whether you many be allergic to dust mites, pollens, pet dander, fungi or other sources. Allergy medications or allergen injections may be recommended. Physicians can help you outline a plan for addressing your exposure to allergy triggers in order to alleviate allergy symptoms.
Step 2: Identify the Dust Mite as One of the Biggest Culprits in Causing Indoor Allergies
The top 3 indoor allergens are dust mite allergens, molds and pet dander. All three can be found in most homes and millions of dust mites can be found in even the cleanest of homes. One easy way to find allergy relief is to reduce your allergen exposure within your home. Many people who have allergies are allergic to dust mites and because they cannot be seen by the naked eye, you could be totally unaware of how much you come in contact with dust mite allergens.
Dust mites are relatives of the spider, and they thrive in the dark, warm and humid environment found in pillows, mattresses, bedding, carpets and upholstered furniture. Dust mites excrete fecal particles and it is these particles, as well as their dead bodies, that cause your allergic symptoms. In fact, dust is made up of dust mite allergens and other allergen particles. Inhaling these particles triggers your allergies.
Around the home, you come in regular contact with indoor allergens, but the greatest allergen exposure is to dust mite allergens. A large dust mite allergen source is your bed. If you wake up feeling congested, sneezing, with swollen eyes or a runny nose, or with other allergy symptoms, inhaling dust mite allergens while you sleep is to blame. You spend up to 8 hours a day in bed, inhaling these allergens and unwittingly aggravating your allergies. The second largest source of dust mite allergens is found in carpeting. Since many homes have carpeting, the carpet is another large area for causing allergy symptoms.
Step 3: For Indoor Allergy Relief, Control Your Environment to Eliminate Allergy Triggers
The good news is that simple steps around the home could alleviate allergy symptoms and possibly reduce your need for allergy medications and treatments. The first step is to address the bedroom due to the large amount of time spent there each day. Cover your pillow, mattress and other bedding in allergy bed encasings to create a barrier between you and the dust mite allergens in the bed. Wash your linens frequently in hot water to remove allergens. Treat your carpet with special allergy-removing carpet products, or remove carpets in favor of hardwood floors or tile. Vacuum weekly with a quality HEPA vacuum, which will contain allergens while you clean, and wear a face mask while cleaning. Keep your home’s humidity level below 50% as low humidity discourages dust mite and mold growth.
For more tips on controlling dust mite allergies in your home, request a copy of the Allergy Control Products Improving Life Indoors catalog or visit the Allergy Control ® Allergy Learning Center for more allergy education. Also, visit allergycontrol.com for upcoming topics regarding The Secret to Living with Allergies. Next, Allergy Control Products will cover Addressing Pet Allergies and future series will include Controlling Mold in Your Home. Don’t miss these helpful allergy tips from the allergen avoidance experts!