20% of the population has some form of allergy. My oldest son suffers from all three of the most common and dreadful allergies, those being molds, mites and pollens. In fact, every three weeks I need to inject him with three different allergy shots to build up his immune system. An allergy is actually an abnormal response of the immune system where the body’s defenses react to a normally harmless substance in the environment. Almost anything can trigger an allergic reaction, which can range from mild and annoying to sudden and life-threatening.
There are several other allergens, which include food, latex, medication, fragrances, cockroaches and insect bites. Those that are allergic to stings can have a severe reaction. Individuals allergic to some medications, such as aspirin or penicillin, can also have life-threatening symptoms which include congestion, rapid pulse, dizziness, itchy eyes, hives, a drop in blood pressure, and even swelling in the mouth or throat. If exposed, treatment with steroids or antihistamines is recommended. For severe symptoms, epinephrine may be needed.
With the more common allergies of molds, pollens and mites, fatigue is a problem, along with itchy eyes, fogginess and spaciness. Environmental toxins are also causes of fatigue. Elements of the natural world can wreak havoc in the lives of allergic individuals! The most common outdoor allergen is pollen. Gardens, yards, trees, grasses and weeds are responsible for most allergies. Pollen is most plentiful during spring through fall. Most plants release pollen in the early morning. Weather conditions can affect pollen levels as well. The worst conditions for allergy sufferers are sunny, dry and windy days.
The home can be a welcome mat to a surprising number of allergy causing dust mites, animal dander, pollens and molds. It should be noted that if you have allergies, there is a good chance your children will develop them too. So, what can you do to make your home environment healthier? Let’s look at some tips:
- Clean your house. Get rid of the clutter, i.e. stacks of clothes and piles of paper, crumbs, etc. If you have carpet, vacuum at least weekly. However, tile or wood surfaces are better.
- Wash your bedding. Dust mites love warm, snuggly mattress pads and bed coverings. You should also vacuum your mattress and the sides of your bed.
- Clean your bathroom shower regularly. Mold and mildew will settle in unless you spray it regularly. Also watch out for dampness under the bathroom sink.
- Keep windows closed. Run your air conditioner, but be certain to change the filter monthly, otherwise you will just be recirculating the pollens you want to get rid of.
- Use you basement wisely. Make sure there is no dampness, dust or clutter. Use a dehumidifier.
- Avoid live plants in your home.
- Bathe your pets. This should be done at least twice each week. It reduces the allergens in their dander.
In conclusion, allergies are really quite dreadful! Be certain to diagnose them properly with your physician and stick to the treatment that is recommended. Watch the seasons, the pollen counts, your house cleaning, your pet cleanliness, gardening, mowing, insect bites, medications and anything else that seems to be a trigger for you.