Living With Allergies
Do you find yourself constantly sneezing? Are your eyes always watery or your nose continually stuffy? If so, you may be suffering from allergies. Thankfully, though, most allergies are easily treatable. The first step in treating allergies is to know what is causing them, so pay attention to when you start exhibiting symptoms. If you notice the symptoms only in particular types of the year such as spring or summer, you may have “hay fever,” which is an allergy caused by airborne pollen or fungi. Once the tree or plant that is causing the allergy is no longer in season, though, you may find that your allergies disappear. However, if your allergies last all year, you are probably allergic to something such as mold, dust, or pet dander. It’s also possible to be allergic to more than one thing, so pay special attention to what seems to be triggering your allergies.
After you’ve made an educated guess about what’s causing your allergies, visit a doctor so that you can receive an official test. Doctors can administer tests based on symptoms and triggers that will definitively show what is causing the allergies. Once you know what is causing the allergies, you can take practical steps to eliminating these triggers.
If you’re allergic to pollen, using an air conditioner will help keep it out of your house. You should also opt to use the air conditioner when driving in your car instead of rolling the windows down, as this prevents unwanted pollen from getting into your car.
Try to reduce the amount of dust and dust mites in your house by regularly cleaning your bedroom, couches, bedding, and other furniture. You can also buy dust-proof covers for your beds and couches. You can buy a hygrometer (which measures humidity) and keep it below 55% in your home. Additionally, air conditioners lower humidity, which prevents the risk of dust mites. Some people even forego carpet in favor of hardwood floors, since they’re less prone to attract dust and can be more easily managed.
Many people are allergic to pet dander (dead skin cells and hair or feathers). Dander can cause asthma attacks and allergic reactions. If you’re allergic to pet dander, many doctors recommend investing in a cold-blooded pet such as a turtle or fish that doesn’t have fur. But if you already have a beloved pet and can’t bear to part with it, there are a few steps you can take. First, keep the animal outside of your house (or, at the very least, outside of your bedroom) so that there won’t be dander spread throughout the entire house. Make sure that you also keep the pet off the couch and carpet to avoid getting extra dander everywhere. Some doctors also recommend using high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in the furnace or air conditioner to remove dander from the air. Many pet enthusiasts take medication or antihistamines so that they can still keep the pet.
If you still experience allergies, you can speak with a doctor about the possibility of medication or other options available. Dealing with allergies can sometimes be frustrating, but they don’t have to keep you from leading a full life, so be sure to look into all available treatment options.