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.
- Absolute avoidance of pollen exposure is impossible
- Pollens are airborne and affect you when you are outside or when the doors or windows are open
- 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 dewfall
- 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
- House dust mites live in bedding and feed on dead human skin.
- They need a humid, hot climate
- Wash sheets, comforters, and pillows in hot water (>130 degrees F) weekly.
- Cover mattresses, box-springs, and pillowcases of allergy sufferers in an 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
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 allergic rhinitis. Examples include horses and laboratory animals such as mice, rats, or guinea pigs.
- Keep pets out of the bedroom
- Keep pets outdoors
- Place pets in another room
- Replace carpeting
- Cover mattresses, box springs, and pillowcases of allergy sufferers in an 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Common allergy triggers include airborne allergens, such as pollen, animal dander, dust mites, and mold. Certain foods and medications also trigger allergies.
You can prevent exposure to allergens by keeping surfaces in your home clean and uncluttered. You should vacuum once or twice a week to reduce pollen and pet dander in your home. It’s also helpful to keep windows and door closed.
There isn’t a cure for allergies, but allergy shots and other treatments are available to help reduce symptoms.
Using air purifiers or a HEPA filter can trap allergens and pollutants and may help bring allergy relief.
Take antihistamines the night before. You should also wear sunglasses and a hat to prevent pollen from getting into your eyes and hair.