Health Tips: Relief For Environmental Allergies

There are many simple lifestyle changes of environment and precautions that may be used to help alleviate some of the symptoms of allergic reactions.

Allergies remain a puzzling epidemic to scientists. It is still not fully understood why the human body launches a full attack against itself when exposed to relatively unharmful substances in the environment. It is estimated that in the United States nearly 30% of all adults and 40% of all children suffer from some form of allergy disorders. And, the numbers continue to climb. While heredity plays a role in some of the allergic reactions, it cannot explain the increasingly larger number of those affected over the past 30 years. Technology and research are leading to many wonderful treatments that help in the relief of allergy symptoms. In addition, there are steps you can take to decrease the amount of symptoms you experience.

Overall, allergies and their complications such as respiratory infections or asthma are thought to be in the top-10 list of reasons why visits are made to physicians in developed countries. Many medications are now being utilized by health care providers to treat the symptoms of seasonal allergies that have a minimum of side effects. In addition to following your physician's directions, there are some other, simple changes that you can make in your lifestyle and environment that can drastically decrease your suffering.

Many television and radio news broadcasts now monitor the daily pollen counts. Pay attention to these figures, and plan your activities around this as much as is possible. Peak pollen hours are during the morning hours from 5am to 10am. Try to avoid being outdoors during these hours. Days that are dry and windy, or periods of the day following a rain are times when the pollen count is the highest. Take extra precautions during these times. When driving, keep the car windows rolled up; use the air conditioner on maximum air settings with recirculation to decrease your exposure to pollens.

Never line-dry clothes outside, use the clothes dryer. Keep the windows in your home closed, especially at night. Try to avoid parking under trees. Tree pollen can collect in the vents and ducts. Always wash your hands after gardening or handling pets. Shower and wash your hair every night to remove pollen that you have picked up on your person while outside. If your pets are indoor/outdoor pets, bathe them often. Wear a mask whenever you are mowing or raking leaves.

To decrease the amounts of pollen, dust mites, mold, pet dander and other allergens in your home, use an air cleaner. Dust and vacuum regularly. With each season's change, clean all air filters, air conditioner filters, and duct filters. Remove and replace moldy, dusty wallpaper. Whenever possible, replace carpet with vinyl, hardwood or tile flooring. Wipe walls and hard floors with a damp cloth on regular basis. Wash rugs and furniture often.

Keep the basement as dry and clean as possible. Enclose toy boxes and bookcases. Frequently wash summer sports equipment made of nylon, plastic, or canvas with mildew retardant to prevent allergen growth. Use exhaust fans over the stove and in the bathroom to decrease humidity when cooking or showering. When cleaning the bathroom use mold preventing and killing solutions. Use machine washable bath mats that you wash in hot water frequently. After a shower or bath, stretch out the shower or curtain to deter mildew growth.

Always air out damp clothes or shoes before putting them away. Try not to leave damp laundry lying in the washer for extended periods of time. Try to maintain your home's humidity below 50% by using air conditioners and dehumidifiers. Indoor plants encourage mold growth, so try to keep them to a minimum within your home.

Try to avoid the use of wood buring stoves and fireplaces. If they must be used, store firewood outdoors.

Use hypoallergenic plastic covers and cases for mattresses, box springs, and pillows made of feathers, down, or foam. Use dacron /polyester comforters instead of wool or down comforters. Wash them frequently in hot water.

Scientists may someday figure out how to push the human body's immune system into the right direction so that allergies become a thing of the past. But, until they do, using precautions and following your health care providers advice can provide a great deal of relief.

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