Can You Protect Yourself from Unexpected Allergy Attacks?
Allergy symptoms may often occur out of nowhere, without any obvious cause. But in fact, there are thousands of allergenic particles present in the environment around you, whether you are outside or at home. Such particles are normally harmless, but if you have an allergy, they can make your body overreact causing allergic symptoms. This overreaction happens because your body’s immune system perceives an allergen as a harmful substance and releases special chemicals to fight it.
Some of the most common allergens include pollen, dust mites, mold, pet dander and insect stings. The reactions they trigger may be classified as mild, moderate and severe. Mild reactions involve skin rash, irritation of the eyes and nasal congestion. Moderate reactions cause itchiness or breathing problems. A severe allergic reaction is known as anaphylaxis. This condition is quite rare, but it may cause a threat to your life.
Below, you will find some tips on how to avoid the most widespread allergy triggers.
Pollen is a powdery substance that is produced by grasses, flowers and trees mostly during spring, summer and fall. Thus, grass pollen is usually produced all time from March to October, weed and ragweed pollinate from April to November and from July to November respectively. Trees start pollinating early, somewhere in January, which continues until June. These timetables may vary according to the climate.
Besides, you can also be significantly exposed to pollen when you are working in your own yard or garden. The allergen can easily be stirred up when you are mowing the yard or taking care of flowers.
In order to limit your exposure to pollen, you should try to stay indoors in the late morning and early afternoon, when the pollen counts are usually highest. You should also keep the windows closed and use air conditioning system. The same applies to your car.
Hanging clothing or bed lines outside is a common mistake that can trigger your allergies. The pollen can stick to the fabric and then be transferred to your home.
Freshly cut grass is a great source of pollen, therefore you should try to avoid it when you can. To avoid contacts with grass pollen, it would also be better if you could get someone to help you with yard work, for example, to mow the lawn. You should also wear a face mask when you do the yard work, and change your clothes and take a warm shower afterwards.
Indoor mold usually grows in warm, humid areas such as bathrooms, basements, or laundry rooms, and there are even more outside sources of it.
To prevent the mold from triggering your allergy, you need to take the following measures:
- Do not rake leaves to avoid inhaling mold spores.
- Stay away from grass, hay, mulch piles, leaves and compost heaps.
- Avoid places like garages, basements, crawl spaces and barns, since there is often a lot of mold in them.
- When the weather is rainy or windy, the air may contain great amounts of mold, so try to stay indoors on such days.
- Use bleach-based products or diluted bleach for cleaning your home.
- Put a dehumidifier and a ventilation system into humid areas of your house.
- Just like pollen, mold spore can adhere to clothes and bed lines, so do not hang them outside.
- Use an incandescent light for mold-prone places.
If you have pets, the dander can accumulate in many places around your house like upholstered furniture, carpets, drapes and bedding, and trigger an allergic reaction. Even if you don’t have pets, you still can get in contact with animals outside and get affected by the allergen. A lot of pet dander also stick to your clothes and then get onto your car seat and some surfaces in your home.
Thus, if you don’t have pets, you are recommended to avoid contacts with animals in general.
If you are a pet owner, you can reduce your allergy symptoms by keeping pets out of your bedroom and bathing them regularly, as well as removing carpets (if it’s possible), vacuuming your house once or twice a week (and your car, too) and using an air cleaner to eliminate the dander present in the air. The latter tips are also effective against house dust and dust mites.
House dust contains many allergenic particles including pet dander, bacteria, mold, and dust mites – tiny, microscopic bugs of the spider family. Large numbers of dust mites may accumulate in bedding, stuffed toys, furniture, carpets and rugs and window blinds.
To reduce the amount of potential dust mite sources in your house, you should take some measures: cover your mattresses, pillows, box springs with plastic and use hypoallergenic pillows; wash your bed sheets in hot water every week; don’t use down-filled bedding; remove overstuffed furniture and carpets and rug, if possible; remove window blinds and long drapes from your windows; and wash and dry your stuffed toys and pillows with high temperatures.
Stinging insects that may trigger allergies include bees, yellow jackets, hornets, fire ants and wasps. Their stings cause pain, swelling and redness in all people, but in some of us they may trigger a severe, sometimes life-threating reaction.
Insects are usually attracted by bright colors and strong senses, so try not to wear colored clothes, cosmetics, perfumes, and scented deodorants or hair products. In order to protect your skin, you can wear long pants and sleeves.
A lot of insects gather around outdoor garbage, which is you should stay away from those too.