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How can I avoid allergy triggers?


Avoiding your allergens as much as possible makes sense. If you're not exposed to the offending substance, you won't have an allergic reaction. Completely eliminating your exposure probably isn't practical or even possible, especially if you're allergic to widespread allergens, such as pollen or dust mites. You can, however, limit your exposure. Here are some actions you can take:

Stay indoors in high-allergen times. Keep windows closed. Check the daily pollen and mold counts for your community in the local newspaper, in weather reports, or on the Internet. If you must be outside, wear a face mask to filter out pollen and mold. They're available in most pharmacies.

Take an allergen-free vacation. Vacation in an area where there are fewer allergens or when they aren't at their peak.

Avoid allergen hot spots. If you're allergic to mold, stay away from areas likely to be moldy - basements, attics, summer cabins closed all winter, shady and leafy areas. If you have to work in such areas, wear a close-fitting face mask.

Dust-proof your home.

  • Remove dust mite hideouts such as wall-to-wall carpeting, venetian blinds, down blankets, feather pillows, closets full of clothing, general clutter, and so-called "dust catchers."
  • Have air ducts thoroughly cleaned to reduce airborne indoor molds and dust.
  • Encase bedding and pillows in zippered, plastic, dust-proof covers.
  • Wash bedding weekly in hot water (greater than 130°).
  • Vacuum only with a special high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or a vacuum with a double-filter bag.

Avoid furry friends. If you can't bear to part with a beloved pet, bathe and brush your pet weekly. Wear a face mask when cleaning or handling your pet or when cleaning kitty litter. Thoroughly clean the area afterward. Or, better yet, have someone else do these tasks.

Use air conditioners. Use home and auto air conditioners to keep out molds and pollens. Add special HEPA air filters to air conditioners to reduce allergens. You can also use individual HEPA cleaners in bedrooms. Follow manufacturer directions in cleaning filters.

Avoid exposure to chemicals, fumes, tobacco smoke, air pollution, etc. These irritants can trigger nasal congestion and make your allergic reaction worse.


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