Minimizing Allergies in the Home

Minimizing Allergies in the Home
August 29, 2011 lghwell

Check out this interesting article on featuring Dr. Frederick Schaffer, a board certified allergist and immunologist and Chief Medical Officer for United Allergy Labs. He discusses the following ways parents can try to minimize their children’s exposure to allergens at home, school, and even outside:

Allergy Testing:
Allergy testing should be considered if you think anyone in your family has allergic symptoms. Tests can show the specific allergens and irritants that affect members of your family so that you can avoid them. “Avoidance therapy” can help decrease symptoms by 50%.

Protect & Wash Bedding:
The most common indoor allergens are dust mites, cockroaches, pet dander, and molds. Dust mites are most prevalent in bedding, carpeting, in upholstered furniture, and in stuffed toys. Mattresses and pillows can be covered with impermeable zipped covers that prevent dust mites (contained inside these items) from traveling to the sheets and pillow cases and aggravating asthma,  nasal and ocular symptoms in allergy sufferers. Also, washing sheets, blankets, and pillow cases in hot water will kill the dust mites contained in these bedding articles.

Keep Humidity In Check:
Maintaining the humidity in your home below 50% will significantly diminish the dust mite population. You can easily manage in-home humidity by operating your air conditioner during warm, humid weather. You can also use dehumidifiers to maintain low humidity in your bedrooms.

Consider Removing Carpeting:
Ultimately, the best way to get rid of dust mites is to remove rugs and carpeting. If that’s not possible, products containing tannic acid can help diminish dust mite populations in carpet. Stuffed toys can be washed often and/or enclosed in plastic to diminish dust mite exposure.

Watch The Bugs:
Cockroaches (and dust mites) are major precipitants of allergy and asthma symptoms. Food on counters and open sources of water attract cockroaches, so keep them in the refrigerator. If you think your home has an issue with cockroaches, hire an exterminator that can help you identify how cockroaches are getting into your home. If you see any cockroaches, thoroughly clean the area because the allergen is found in the insect’s waste material.

Check Your Pets:
Keeping pets outside will significantly diminish pet dander exposure. Bathing and brushing pets weekly will diminish shedding and help remove pollen-containing grass and leaves from the coat. If you have a cat allergy, keeping away from the litter box will help minimize allergen exposure.

Mind The Mold!
Mold spores are both indoor and outdoor allergens. For outdoor mold allergies, avoid large piles of leaves or decaying plants (like compost) – they contain high mold spore counts. It’s also important to minimize outdoor activity during times of high mold spore counts. Clearing away leaves or other plant debris from area around he home can also help decrease exposure. Indoor mold allergies can be combatted by reducing humidity in the home, removing indoor plants, keeping doors and windows closed during times of high mild spore counts, and using HEPA air conditioner filters monthly.

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