Allergies: How to Cope and Who Are the Culprits
It’s allergy season, time to prepare for the battle against allergens and equip ourselves for the war on sniffles, sneezes and itches. We spend 90 percent of our lives inside and thus it’s important to know how to fight them effectively. Since the early 80s, allergies have become more common among all age, sex and racial groups. Now, one in five Americans suffer from allergies. Let’s meet the culprits aggravating immune systems everywhere:
Dust is a mixture of substances including dried food particles, pollen, insect parts and mold. You can avoid them by replacing carpets with wood, mopping your floors and wiping surfaces with a damp cloth frequently, vacuuming with a machine that has a high-efficiency particular air (HEPA) filter or install an air purifier with a high-efficiency filter.
Dust mites are tiny spider-like creatures that live indoors; their feces cause allergic reactions. They live deep within carpet, upholstery and mattresses and thrive in warm, humid places. Cover mattresses and pillows with plastic covers and wash all bedding with hot water every week to fight dust mites.
Cockroaches’ bodies crumble and mix with dust when they die. To keep them away, keep food in sealed containers, clean behind your stove and fridge and refrain from keeping pet food out too long.
Pet dander causes more allergic reactions than animals’ fur or hair. To keep a peaceful relationship between your pet and your allergies, use an air filter and allergen-resistant bedding. Be sure to bathe your pets frequently, so their skin shedding doesn’t present too much of a problem.
Pollen is carried in from the outdoors through clothes, hair, ventilation, pets and wind. The best way to avoid letting pollen take over your home is to shower before bed, stay inside on dry, windy days and keep windows and doors closed as often as possible.
Mold spores can be found in shower stalls, damp cellars, drains, indoor plants, closets, attics and crawl spaces. They produce a foul smell and aggravate allergies. To avoid them, remove indoor plants; clean shower curtains, damp walls and indoor trash cans regularly and use fans to create airflow. If you’re feeling like a seasoned warrior, whip up a mixture of water and bleach to kill mold.