The first step in allergy treatment is avoidance. The degree of difficulty in achieving total avoidance depends on the kind of allergy. Allergy skin testing will help show a person’s allergens. We included a list of major allergens, their exposure risks and what to do to avoid them. Pollen Exposure Absolute avoidance of pollen exposure is impossible Pollens are airborne and effect you when you are outside or when the doors or windows are open Avoidance Keep windows closed at night. Use air-conditioning instead which cools, cleans and dries the air Keep car windows closed when driving Try to stay indoors when the pollen count or the humidity is high, and on windy days when pollen and molds blow around Air your home in the evening after dew fall Take a vacation during the height of pollen season to an area with a lower pollen count, like the beach Do not use window fans which can draw outdoor pollens and molds into the home Stay away from fresh-cut grass Get someone else to rake leaves Dry clothes in the dryer instead of outside Refrain from watering indoor plants if you are allergic to mold Dust Mites and Molds Exposure House dust mites live in bedding and feed on dead human skin. They need a humid, hot climate Avoidance Wash sheets, comforters and pillows in hot water (>130 degrees F) weekly. Cover mattresses, box-springs and pillowcases of allergy sufferers in impermeable encasing. Replace old mattresses and pillows. Avoid storing items under the bed, and place dust collecting items in enclosed bookcases away from sleeping areas. Wash stuffed animals in hot water or wrap them in plastic bags and put them in the freezer for at least five hours once each week or put them in a hot dryer. Replace carpeting by hardwood, vinyl or tile flooring, and washable throw rugs Keep the air of the house relatively dry and cool, with humidity less than 40% if possible and temperature below 70 degrees. Use dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture from indoor air, especially basements. Empty the water and clean often to prevent mildew from growing. Central air conditioning is a good way to filter and cool indoor air Furred Animals Exposure If house pets have been present or are now present in the home, house dust will contain large amounts of animal dander Furry animals outside of the home may cause problems. Examples include horses and laboratory animals such as mice, rats or guinea pigs. Avoidance Keep pets out of the bedroom Keep pets outdoors Place pets in another room Replace carpeting Cover mattresses, box-springs and pillow cases of allergy sufferers in impermeable encasing Use a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) cleaner in the bedroom of the allergy sufferers to keep the air dander free. Open the windows and ventilate the house; air exchange can decrease airborne pet allergens.